Former Mayor of Wexford Dominic Kiernan leaves behind a great legacy
Dominic Kiernan, former Mayor and a lifelong ambassador to Wexford, passed away last week at the age of 79. He is pre-deceased by his beloved wife Betty, who died in April of last year.
He was born in 1937- his mother from Wexford and his father from Cavan.
Although he was a Dublin native, Wexford was in his heart and the Slaney in his veins. He spent his childhood summers in the sunny South East with his uncle Kevin Morris, a former councillor and mayor.
Kevin was his greatest inspiration, both in his career as an auctioneer and in his political career. Thirty years after Kevin held office, Dominic served as Mayor of Wexford three times.
Dominic married his wife Betty Wade in 1963 and shortly after, they moved to Wexford to join Kevin in the auctioneer's business. He retired from this in 2013.
Both his passion for politics and his love of people from all walks of life was the driving force behind many of his achievements publicly. He was a staunch supporter of Fianna Fail but had great friends across all the parties.
'I got on well with Dominic. He was a good member of the council. We didn't agree on politics, but we always got on and I bought my house from him,' said Councillor Davy Hynes, a lifelong friend of his.
Former Independent councillor Padge Reck, who served on the council with Dominic for many years, said he was in touch with him the day before he died.
'He wanted to be friends with me on Facebook which I had only recently joined,' said Padge, 'Dominic was larger than life. You'd always expect him to be there. He was like a Colossus. I knew him for the bones of 45 years.
'He was ebullient and very friendly and carried out the job very well. He was popular among the members and with the staff and got on well with everyone. He was the kind of fellow you couldn't fall out with and his wife was lady to her fingertips.'
Cllr Malcolm Byrne said Dominic was a great supporter of bringing young people into politics and encouraged him during his early years of involvement.
'He had a passion for sport, for business and for community life. While a strong member of Fianna Fail, he never let his politics prevent him from working with others to improve life in County Wexford,' said Malcolm
One of his greatest qualities was his kindness and as the tributes pour in, the family are astounded by the amount of people he helped in confidence and without fuss. As a member of AA, he returned the gift of sobriety to anyone who asked for his help. He was always there for other people.
With his inexhaustible energy and a refusal to be daunted by any challenge, Dominic used politics to promote his beloved Wexford and make it a better place.
He was hugely influential in the development of Redmond Square under the Urban Renewal Scheme prior to his election as a public representative and during his term in office, he used his travels to advocate for the town, particularly in the United States where he initiated the Irish Connection with the New York Games for the Physically Challenged.
He was responsible for bringing up to 1,000 young Irish people to New York and American children to Ireland as part of the exchange programme. No matter where he travelled in the world, he always promoted Wexford.
In his own words, he always endeavoured to 'talk Wexford up, not down'.
The Wexford Majorettes marched in Staten Island at a St Patrick's Day parade, but one of his happiest memories was single- handedly organising the homecoming for the 1996 winning All Ireland Wexford Hurling team - an event that he organised in less than 24 hours, down to the purple and gold fireworks and the dancing at the crossroads with the Wild Swans.
Larry O'Gorman paid tribute to him on social media saying 'You were a born Dub, but soon became a Wexford person and showed so much love to your adopted county.'
Sport was a passion of his and his own sporting career spanned 60 years. His love of sport came early in life where he played hurling and football at underage level in Dublin.
This was cut short by an accident in the clubhouse. It was then he turned to wrestling. He became an Irish wrestling champion and represented his country in Germany.
He was secretary of the Irish Wrestling association and served on the Irish Olympic Committee. His expertise in sports injuries and physio brought him back onto the GAA pitches.
He trained the winning All Ireland Wexford Camogie teams in 1968 and 1969, instilling in the team an unwavering confidence and vision in themselves. They didn't let him down.
He remained as physio for the Wexford Hurling team for many years. His work as a physio continued with the Irish- and the World Superstars and Crumlin Hospital Charity Cycle. He even trained the Wexford Soccer club- The Norwick Rangers.
Boxing was a sport that Dominic invested a lot of love and energy into. He admired the courage and dedication it took to step into the ring and face an opponent head on- an ethos he lived his own life by.
He was a stalwart of Irish amateur boxing at Club, County, Provincial and National level and worked with the Irish boxing greats including Billy Walsh, Katie Taylor, Kenny Egan, Paddy Barnes and the late Darren Sutherland.
Dominic was a real people person and welcomed everyone from all nationalities to Wexford. He dedicated his life and career to helping others and instigated projects with others in mind.
He was responsible for the first gym in Wexford complete with the largest sauna in Ireland, and the first plant hire company. He was also the first person in Wexford to donate to Wexford Inshore Rescue.
He was a great supporter and promoter of the Arts always on hand to encourage up and coming stars.
He was highly amused when, taking on the first stint as Mayor, English papers ran with the headline 'The Mayor is a Pirate', thanks to his days on the community based Wexford pirate radio station, CRW.
He was particularly proud of all his creative Wexford friends such as Cry Before Dawn, Larry Kirwan, Pierce Turner, Paul O Brien, Charlie Murphy, Billy Roche and Cat Hogan. Wexford writer Paul O'Brien paid tribute to him on social media and thanked him for starting his career.
Dominic's unwavering love was for his family. His greatest loss came less than a year ago, with the death of his greatest love and wife of 53 years, Betty. He is survived by his daughters Fiona and Avril, his sons Patrick and John, his beloved grandchildren, Kieran, Leah, Colm, and Brian, and his brothers and sisters.
Dominic Kiernan was a great character with a huge heart - he had to be, to achieve all that he did, but even the biggest heart must eventually rest. He has left behind an incredible legacy and although his presence will be sorely missed, he will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace.
His funeral Mass will take place in Clonard Church at noon today (Tuesday, March 21), followed by burial in Crosstown Cemetery.
As a mark of respect, yesterday (Monday) afternoon's Wexford's Municipal District monthly meeting was adjourned on the proposal of Cllr. Davy Hynes, seconded by Cllr. Deirdre Wadding, a cousin of Dominic Kiernan's.