PADDY BELTON: The people of Kenagh and surrounding areas are still in a state of shock and dismay from the sad news of the very sudden and unexpected death of local county councillor Paddy Belton. As one observer said, it was a bolt from the blue and so it was. This very popular man went to his eternal reward with very short notice last Thursdays evening April 25th at the residence of his sister in law Mary Belton. In fact he died in his old home where he was born and reared. Paddy had enjoyed a day at Punchestown races the day before with the Longford GAA following. He was in his sixty eighth year. He was a big man in every respect, big in stature, big at heart and big in his standing in the locality for many reasons. In his early years he played football with his local club starting with schoolboys where he began to show promise as a future champion. He played minor for over three years with the same distinction and class. His size as a six footer allowed him to graduate to under twenty ones, Junior intermediate and senior in quick succession. By the time he moved to the top grade he had earned himself a reputation for being a tough but fair opponent. He always played with passion and self belief, even when the chips were down he played on regardless of the consequences. He was the holder of under twenty one, junior and intermediate county medals along with a host of other trophies also. He also played rugby with distinction with Longford Rugby club for many years especially when he moved into his thirties. After his active playing days Paddy began to take an interest in the young under age players who were coming through. He was very popular with the younger members of the club which was very helpful when he took on the position of coach and trainer. Paddy has the honour of bringing the club through its most successful period when his young charges won almost every title on the Longford GAA calendar. Paddy was in his fortieth year. The club presented him with a shooting bag when he retired as trainer when he played his last game for Kenagh. He was also a keen follower of the dog and gun and was a very active member of Kenagh Gun Club. Not alone was he a good marksman but he also had a great knowledge of the habits and movements of wild life. Having lived close to the Kenagh river he built up a great store of knowledge of birds and wild animals. He could recognise the whistles and call which prevailed on the bog and along the River bank. Paddy came to real prominence as a man of the people when he became active in the political life of the constituency. Coming from a strong political background it was just second nature for him to follow up the family tradition. He canvassed extensively for his brother Louis J and played a big part in his election successes. He decided to run for the county council himself in 1999 where he was successful in securing a seat for the Fine Gael party, a position he held until his sudden demise last Thursday. During his term as a councillor he earned himself a reputation for being a good debater , a hard hitter but also a very caring gentleman who took a great personal interest in the welfare of his constituents regardless of their political affiliations. No doubt he was a gentle giant and had earned the affection and admiration of all those who came into contact with him let it be in sport farming politics or the many local organisations he was associated with. He never failed to turn up at local events and drop a few euros quietly to so many functions. In fact on a personal level I owe him a debt of gratitude for attending at book launches and other family gatherings over the years for which I thank him posthumously. When the community centre was being built over ten years ago he became a very active committee member and through his office as councillor he negotiated with the county council when planning problems arose. We could go on and on regailing all his activities in the social and political life but it was as a family man that his outstanding personality shone through. After the death of his brother Liam at a young age he began to take a great interest in the upbringing and welfare of his nephews and nieces something which did not go unnoticed by the local public. He became a father figure to them from an early age especially when they were involved in sporting and local activities. He set a headline for so many of his friends and neighbours. Although he hit the headlines for his sporting and political activities in real life he was a very affectionate man with an easy going laid back personality fond of a flutter on the horses and a good chat about the goings on in our locality. He was a good friend and an obliging neighbour. We will miss him so much. He was removed from Saint Josephs Hospital last Saturday evening where his funeral mass was celebrated on Sunday morning. Both ceremonies were sad but memorable events where huge crowds congregated to pay their last respects to a natural gentleman. We observed many faces present from the world of politics and sport, county councillors, Senators Tds, MEPs and even the Taoiseach himself Enda Kenny. No doubt a very representative gathering which was ample proof of his standing in the community. A guard of honour was presented by officials of Longford council at Saint Josephs also a guard of honour by Kenagh GAA club and Longford rugby club at his removal to Saint Dominics Church. His comrades in the Fine Gael party from all parts of Ireland escorted his hearse on Sunday morning on its route to Moydow cemetery. Members of Kenagh GAA club played an outstanding part with traffic control , car parking, church seating and any other necessary chores. Tea sandwiches and cakes were suitably served by a local ladies committee which was enjoyed by all especially those who travelled long journeys even by the Taoiseach himself. Thanks to all who helped out in so many ways. We offer our sincere sympathy to his bothers Louis J, sister Maureen , sister in law Mary, brothers in law Val, his nephews and nieces ,cousins extended families neighbours friends and all his comrades in the political and sporting world who will miss him sadly as a neighbour and friend. This is now the fourth week in succession that we had to write on the deaths of four people who all had their roots in Kenagh village. A number of event were cancelled over last weekend as a mark of respect to the late Paddy Belton.
LOTTO: The numbers drawn in Kenagh GAA Lotto for April 28th were – 2, 8, 11, 27. There was one match three winner Sean Penrose senior wins eight euros. Next draw in Kearneys pub on Monday May 6th.
SCRAP SATURDAY: Kenagh and district Development Association will be holding their Scrap Saturday or scrap collection on this coming Saturday May 5th from 10am onwards. This event was postponed from last Saturday as a mark on respect to the late Paddy Belton. All items of scrap such as iron, steel, copper , brass and aluminium will be very welcome no matter how small the amount.
DEATH: We offer our sympathy to the family and friends of Bernard McDonnell Deerpark Kenagh who died on Friday April 26th. His funeral mass will take place on this Monday morning in Saint Dominics Church followed by cremation in Glasnevin.
CEILI: Ballymahon bikers club are holding a ceili in Saint Sinneachs Hall Carrickedmond on this Saturday May 4th. Dancing from 9 to 12. Music by Annaly ceili band and proceeds in aid of Saint Lukes charity fund. Your support will be greatly appreciated. Adm ten euro.
TED FEST: There will be a Ted-Fest in Kearneys Bar, Moydow, this Sunday 5th May in aid of Moydow Community Centre, commencing at 5pm sharp. Admission is €5. Tickets on sale from all committee members and in Kearneys. The €5 admits you and also puts you into a draw for a hamper. On the night there will be; fancy dress, lovely girls competition, drive through mass and many more events. Music on the night by the Casey’s. All welcome. Your support will be greatly appreciated.
HIGH NELLIE RUN: Sunday May 12 Kenagh and district development association will be hosting their high nellie bicycle run from Kenagh village. The run starts at 12 noon sharp and will take in very scenic routes along the canal banks and over the bog roads. A small donation will be greatly appreciated by the KDDA . Come for an enjoyable days fun.
TABLE QUIZ: A table quiz which was cancelled last Friday night as a mark of respect to the late Paddy Belton will be held in Gav’s Bar Kenagh on this Friday night May third at 9pm.Table of four ten euro each. Refreshments served . Proceeds will go to the Midlands Irish Draught Horse Society. Your support will be greatly appreciated.