“Memories are powerful things. They have the capacity to immortalise significant moments in our lives. For whatever reason, our minds chose to record particular memories, as if to freeze ‘a moment of time’ that we will, one day, revisit and recall” - poignant words, so softly spoken by Fr Declan Shannon during the Funeral Mass of Longford/Westmeath TD, Deputy Nicky Mcfadden (FG) who was laid to rest at Coosan Cemetery this afternoon.
“I’d like to think that our minds recall more happy memories than sad; that we remember more of the good times than the bad,” he added. “But when someone we love dies, our minds almost instinctively chose to recall particular memories. Without much effort, we recall them with great affection and sometimes with great emotion.”
Fr Shannon went on to say that when the “sad news” of the popular and highly respected TD broke last Tuesday, “many memories were recalled”. “Many tears were shed and many stories were told and retold,” he continued. “Like a patchwork quilt, these memories while individually recalled and personally remembered, but when brought together, they tell of the rich tapestry of Nicky’s life. It is that rich tapestry that we celebrate today and it is that rich tapestry that we entrust back to God. Today, we bring our individual memories of Nicky together and we thank her for them, but we also thank God for the gift of Nicky.”
Deputy McFadden died on Tuesday following a short illness. She had been diagnosed with Motor Neuron disease in 2012 and fought a brave and courageous battle to the very end. She was elected to the Dáil for the Longford/Westmeath constituency in the 2011 General Election and was the first female Fine Gael TD in Westmeath. She was first elected to Athlone Town Council in 1999, when she topped the poll and in 2003 she was co-opted onto Westmeath Co Council, when her father, Brendan retired. She unsuccessfully contested the 2007 general election, but entered the Seanad in September of the same year.
Born in Athlone in 1963, Ms McFadden was educated at St Joseph’s College Summerhill and subsequently undertook a diploma in legal studies at the Athlone Institute of Technology. She worked as a medical secretary and later with the ESB. In recent months her sister, Cllr Gabrielle McFadden - the current Mayor of Athlone - carried out official functions when Ms McFadden’s condition deteriorated.
President Michael D Higgins said Deputy McFadden made an outstanding contribution as a Senator and deputy. “She showed immense courage in continuing her public service after having been diagnosed with a serious illness,” he added.
The late Nicky McFadden is survived by her daughter Caren, son Eoin and sisters Gab and Aine. May she Rest in Peace.