Moving tribute delivered by friend and colleague Reck
LEO CARTHY was ' a gentleman to his fingertips', the huge crowd at his funeral in Our Lady's Island heard yesterday ( Tuesday).
Independent Councillor Padge Reck gave the graveside oration for his long-time colleague and friend. He said he was 'mindful of the magnitude of the task of paying due tribute to the political colossus that was Leo Carty'.
'A gentleman to his fingertips, he was kind, warm-hearted and friendly and he was gifted with the ability to win the minds and hearts of everyone he met,' said Padge.
He pointed to Leo's many talents, whether he was singing, lilting, playing the mouth organ, reciting, writing poetry or parodies or delivering a speech or oration.
' Despite these many fine attributes Leo Carty was a very humble man and given the opportunity to write his own epitaph he would probably say he was just a rural councillor from the south of the county who gave a lifetime of service to the people of Wexford and in particular to those who lived in his beloved Barony of Forth,' said Padge.
Padge said that Leo enjoyed the council best during the period when the four independents held the balance of power, with the two men joined by Seán Doyle from Enniscorthy and Wexford's Helen Corish.
He said that Leo referred to them as 'a cultured group', but that he was the ' hit man' with a tendency to send in ' a scud missile' during a debate. On such occasions Leo would lean over to him and say, ' be the lord young Reck that one scorched the grass on her way to the back of the net'.
'Leo himself was the voice of reason and he made sure we always kept the peace,' said Padge, who told a number of amusing stories starring his late friend from down through the years.
He also spoke of Leo's deep love for his family and how his six-month-old grandson Michael had become ' the apple of his eye' this year.
Padge told Leo's three children, Assumpta, Ger and Seán, how thrilled he was with them when they were young, how proud of their and how relieved he was when they each got a secure job. 'And fair play to Leo he made sure they were Government jobs,' he joked.
'I know that the life of a councillor can be difficult and we are not always around when our children need us, but Leo was not like a father, he was just like your friend - young at heart and on your wavelength always. What a lovely memory for the rest of your lives,' said Padge.
'Finally can I say to his wife Anne, today that lovely, warm heart of yours is as heavy as a big stone. I know how much he cared for you and I can also bear witness to how important you were to him.
' When the mobile phone first came in, immediately after every meeting of the council he would say to me "see if you can get Anne on that yoke". He would tell you where he was, where he was going and the time he would be arriving home and then he would say to me "that poor woman will put herself in the grave worrying about me", but Leo is gone to join his mother and his extended family,' said Padge.
'By now I am sure he has made contact with Mick Sinnott, Rory Murphy, Jack Bolger, Tommy Howlin and Jim Gahan. I suppose all of us are getting down the banks, but in the middle of their little chinwags Anne you can be sure that he is watching over you and making sure that the enduring love you had for each other and the happiness it brought to both of you will heal the hurt in the weeks and months to come.'