“Dad believed that a man’s life was measured by his passions. His legacy speaks for itself.”
Seán O’Sullivan’s tribute to his late father Toddy received a standing ovation and a sustained bualadh bos in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, The Lough.
Toddy O’Sullivan’s passions in life, his son said, were his wife Esther, his children and grandchildren, his politics as a leading member of the Labour Party, his work in An Post, music, angling, literature, and his beloved St Finbarr’s Hurling and Football Club.
Family, friends, neighbours, community leaders and politicians attended the funeral Mass of the former Cork Lord Mayor, Labour TD, and Minister of State, with Colonel C.V. Howard representing President Higgins, and Commandant Claire Kelleher representing Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
Cork Lord Mayor Colm Kelleher and Cork City Council chief executive Anne Doherty attended the funeral in a formal capacity, and paid their respects to Mr O’Sullivan’s family.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Seán O’Sullivan thanked all of those who had provided medical care to his father, and spoke of their immense gratitude to neighbours and friends who had provided food and strength in recent days.
Toddy O’Sullivan’s friend Father Ben Hodnett presided over the funeral Mass, and said God had granted Toddy wisdom in life, and the wisdom to realise his great fortune in meeting Esther, the love of his life.
As a politician, Father Hodnett said, Toddy O’Sullivan had always wanted great things for the people he served, and in “a courageous outreach” he had wanted every home in Cork to be as loving as his own.
“He would help anyone he could,” Father Hodnett said, praying that God would grant the people of Cork the wisdom to say “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”.
Toddy O’Sullivan’s Labour Party colleagues were in attendance at the Mass, among them party leader Alan Kelly TD, former leader and TD Dick Spring, as well as former TDs Willie Penrose, Kathleen Lynch, and Ciaran Lynch, and former Lord Mayors Michael Ahern and Mick O’Connell, and party general secretary Billie Sparks.
Labour City Councillor John Maher attended the funeral, as did Labour local area representative Peter Horgan.
Politicians past and present from across the political spectrum attended the funeral, among them Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire and former Lord Mayors and councillors.
At the end of the funeral Mass, Father Hodnett recalled Seán O’Sullivan’s earlier words.
“You said it well earlier, when you said Toddy deserved a bualadh bos. I think he deserves another one. Well done Toddy.” The applause was warm, and grateful.
Toddy O’Sullivan’s coffin was borne from the church to the strains of “I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night”, before being brought to his final resting place in St Finbarr’s Cemetery.