Speech re: Passing of Paídi Ó Sé

Members and management, as Mayor of Kerry I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Paídi Ó Sé and to remember and recognize his contribution to this county.

I’m sure that I was not alone in being shocked and stunned when news of Paídi’s untimely passing came through on Saturday. Like many, it was very hard to comprehend, but my first thought was that Kerry has lost a legend on the sporting field and an ambassador for the county,

There are people better placed than me who can speak with far more authority on Paídi’s sporting career. Nevertheless I’ll try and give a quick run through.

Eight All-Ireland Senior Football Medals, 11 Munster titles, 4 National League titles, 3 u-21 All-Ireland titles, 4 Railway Cup titles, 5 All-Stars and 2 County Championship titles.

And that’s just as a player. Throw in his honours when he switched his attention to management. Two All-Ireland Senior titles, 5 Munster titles, 1 National League and an All-Ireland u-21 title. Most importantly, he led Kerry to their first All-Ireland title in 11 years, when Kerry recaptured Sam in 1997. Throw in leading Westmeath to their first ever Leinster title and his time with Clare, and there are very few, if any, to rival him on the honour roll.

But while Paídi gave so much of his life to sport, it would be incorrect to define him as simply a sportsman.

He had so many more strings to his bow. As an entrepreneur he saw the opportunity that the growing tourism industry offered and changed careers from An Garda Siochana to publican, first as landlord at Krugers and then opening his own premises in Ventry. Not to mention his position as a director of Bord Fáilte.

The success of his business, and other ventures such as the Paídi Ó Sé Annual Football Tournament were not only as a result of his business acumen, but also as a result of his larger than life personality.

And I think that for many people it is his personality which will long live on in their memories. He was hugely generous with his time, made friend and stranger feel welcome and was known wherever he went around the globe.

Whenever people talk of Paídi, those words, ‘larger than life’ will be repeated again and again. Over the coming days and weeks, stories will be told of him. Some will be exaggerated but not many. Paídi’s exploits on and off the field were also larger than life. Many will call him a rogue. I’m sure he would have smiled at this description, but probably wouldn’t have disagreed.

But one thing shone through at all times: his love of this county. Look back at any interview with Paídi, and his grá for the county of Kerry, for his own home place of Ventry and for the Irish language was evident each and every time.

All these things combined to make Paídi Ó Sé a true ambassador for Kerry. Paídí will be missed by the very many people who knew him, at home and abroad. His contribution to this county should be recognized and remembered.

On behalf of Kerry County Council and on behalf of the people of Kerry, I would like to express my deepest sympathies to his wife, Maire and his children: Neasa, Siún and Padraig Óg.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís. Fíor Gael Laochra Gael, Fíor Ciarraíoch.

I would like now to propose a minute of silence in memory of Paidi Ó Sé and in memory of all Kerry people who passed away during 2012.

Kerry County Council, Co. Buildings, Rathass, Tralee

Phone: (066) 718 3500     Email: info@kerrycoco.ie