Huge crowds bid a fond farewell
SMALL stacks of cards on table at the back of the Church of the Assumption yesterday ( Tuesday) carried a photo of Leo Carthy with a simple message: 'A legend in his own lifetime'. The hundreds of people in attendance at the funeral in Our Lady's Island bore testament to the high esteem in which he was held.
There was a large turnout from the political world as TDs, senators and councillors gathered to pay their respects to their friend. An Taoiseach Brian Cowen was represented by his Aide de Camp Commandant Michael Tracey.
Bishop of Ferns Denis Brennan led the large number of clergy present at the Mass, which was celebrated by parish priest Fr Brendan Nolan.
Fr Nolan paid tribute to Leo and said the important aspects of his life, those which mattered most to him, such as his family, his parish and the broader community, were all connected through his strong faith. ' His faith was intertwined with all aspects of his life,' said Fr Nolan.
The gifts brought forward during the offertory procession reflected many of the important aspects of Leo's life which Fr Nolan spoke of.
There was the mouth organ, reflecting his love of music and talents as a performer; there was the stick and hat from his mumming days; there was the Wexford handball jersey; the Our Lady's Island jersey, reflecting his love for his parish and its people, and there was the photo of his beloved grandson Michael, reflecting his devotion to his family.
Catherine Meyler, speaking on behalf of the Carthy family, thanked their 'fantastic neighbours', the people of Our Lady's Island and the wider community, who had proved a ' tower of strength' to the family in their time of need.
She also paid tribute to doctors Frank Hogan, Paddy McKiernan and Colm Quigley, the ambulance service, and the staff of Wexford General Hospital for the excellent care afforded to Leo over the years.
Paying tribute to his immense contribution to his community, county and country, Catherine quoted Shakespeare's Othello: 'I have done the State some service, and they know it, no more of that.'
Bishop Denis Brennan extended his sympathy to the Carthy family and to the entire community on its sad loss, pointing out that Leo had led a life that 'made such a difference and was so rich and good in every way'.
Leo was afforded Guards of Honour by his political colleagues and many of the organisations he had made a huge contribution to over the years, while others were well represented among the large congregation.
'May the green sod of Our Lady's Island rest softly on his gentle soul,' said Bishop Brennan, before Leo's remains were carried the short journey from the church, past his home, to his final resting place in Our Lady's Island Cemetery.