The townspeople of Mountmellick came out to honour the passing of Cllr Pat Bowe last Wednesday afternoon January 23, in a funeral well represented too by his political colleagues.
Cllr Bowe aged 61, died suddenly last Saturday morning, January 19, while attending a conference in Clare. A father of three, he was a member of Mountmellick Town Council for close to thirty years, and was Cathaoirleach this year for the first time. He was also a County Councillor and a member of Laois VEC.
At 11.45am his remains were removed from Moloney’s Funeral Home for the short journey to St Joseph’s Church for Requiem Mass, with guards of honour by the Town Council, led by vice chairperson Rosemary Whelan, and the Labour Party, led by Senator John Whelan.
Labour politicians who gathered to honour their colleague included Jack Wall, Labour TD for South Kildare and chair of the Parliamentary party, acting General Secretary Brian McDowell, and party members from Offaly and Westmeath.
Other senior politicians included former Fianna Fáil minister Ger Connolly from Offaly and Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley.
County Manager Peter Carey attended with many of his senior staff, having closed council offices for the funeral. Laois’ most senior Gardaí, Chief Superintendent John Scanlon and Inspector Martin Harrington also were at the funeral.
At Requiem Mass in the sunlit church, filled to capacity, Fr Micheál Murphy PP led the service, accompanied by Clonaslee PP Fr O’Reilly, Fr Dooley PP of Portarlington, Fr McNamara and Fr Dunphy.
Fr Murphy noted that the town had turned out to honour Pat’s passing.
“News of Pat’s sudden death spread around the town on Saturday, and we offer our prayers as townspeople, colleagues, friends and neighbours now to grant him peace and rest in heaven. The lamp of Pat’s life has been put out, because the dawn of his eternal life has come,” he said.
He spoke warmly of Cllr Bowe’s hard work on behalf of his town.
“Pat’s commitment to the betterment of Mountmellick was genuine and personal. Mountmellick was a part of him, and he of it. He was involved in many a campaign that his determination and grit saw him wrangle and win, not for himself, but for the people who knocked on his door day and night, and stopped him in the street,” he said.
Hymns were sung by Michael English and Geraldine Reddy who sang a beautiful version of “The Rose” quite fitting for the Labour party politician.
Fr Murphy called on Pat’s friends, colleagues and townspeople to pray for his peace and rest, paraphrasing his well known election motto.
“If there is anything God doesn’t know, as Pat might say, now it is His turn to ask Bowe,” he said.
Afterwards, Mountmellick Town Council and Laois County Council flanked the hearse to walk the mile long stretch to St Joseph’s Cemetery.
Bowe’s county council colleagues, Cathaoirleach Paul Mitchell and Cllr John King, helped John Moloney and staff lay the coffin in its final resting place, in the new section of the cemetery.
Fr Murphy then led prayers of commendation and farewell, a decade of the rosary and lastly a silent prayer for the happy repose of the soul of Pat Bowe.