Obituary: Noel McGeeney championed the Royal Canal and Longford Tidy Towns

Noel McGeeny, pictured when he was Grand Marshal of the Longford St Patrick's Day, passed away in the early hours of last Thursday morning.
The death occurred of Noel McGeeney, Market Square, Longford, on Thursday, February 19.

The death occurred of Noel McGeeney, Market Square, Longford, on Thursday, February 19.

Born on December 5, 1926, to Tom and Mary (née Connell), Noel was one of five children, along with Paddy, Con, Kevin and Mary. The family lived at Harbour View House – the former Royal Canal ticket office on the Market Square – and the house was Noel’s lifelong home.

Noel attended secondary school at St Patrick’s College in Cavan before joining the family’s steamroller business. He later became a plumber and hackney driver, and also worked at Hanlon’s ambulance factory.

He married Mollie Corkery on January 9, 1950, and the couple went on to have eight children: Mary (Moll), Tom, Catherine, Padraig, Rev Noel, Bernadette, Edel, and John Conal.

Well known and respected throughout Longford, Noel was a long-serving Fianna Fáil representative on the County Council, being first elected in 1979, and he served continuously until stepping down in 1991. He also served a term as Cathaoirleach of the local authority, taking up the role in June of 1989.

Apart from local politics, Noel was very much involved in local community projects. He was an active member of Longford Tidy Towns for over a decade and held the position of President with the group, while he also championed the re-opening of the Royal Canal and was a central figure in the establishment of the Royal Canal Amenity Group.

Noel’s red Renault van was a familiar sight driving through the streets of Longford town, and as a lover of travelling, he would often use it to drive to Donegal in summer. In latter years, he would escape the cold Irish climate to spend wintertime in Spain. He also enjoyed music, swimming and reading, and quickly embraced the latest technology; he was an adept user of social media, which he used to promote the Longford branch of the Royal Canal.

Noel had been in ill health in recent years and passed away at Roscommon County Hospital in the early hours of last Thursday, February 19, surrounded by his family. His funeral took place at St Mel’s Cathedral on Saturday, after which his remains were taken to Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin for cremation.

Noel McGeeney is pre-deceased by his late wife Mollie, and brothers Paddy and Con, and his death is deeply regretted by his daughters Mary, Catherine, Bernadette, and Edel; sons Tom, Padraig, Rev Noel, and John Conal; sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren; sister Mary and brother Kevin; sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives, and friends.