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President McAleese unveils Dermot Earley statue

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President McAleese lauds the philosophy of late Dermot Earley


Michael Commins

PRESIDENT Mary McAleese described the late Dermot Earley as ‘one of the finest men ever born on the island of Ireland’. She was speaking at the unveiling of a life-size bronze monument to the late Chief of Staff of the Irish Army and legendary Roscommon footballer in his home village on Saturday. 
Around 1,000 people were present for the ceremony with many travelling long distances to pay their own respects to the memory of a friend and legend. It was an impressive gathering from various walks of life, all who wanted to be there out of sheer respect for an extraordinary man.
President McAleese caught the mood of the day perfectly as she recalled memories of a friend and person who stood out in such a special way. “Dermot’s work took him all over the world. He brought with him the values the education and the deepness of spirit that started here in Gorthaganny. He had a philosophy that went right through to the bone and marrow of the man, family, community, faith.”
The bronze memorial was sculpted by Séamus Connolly from Co Clare and it will take pride of place in the village of Gorthaganny, just beside the Earley family home where Mrs Kitty Earley still resides.
David Earley, on behalf of the family, spoke eloquently in a manner that bore uncanny resemblance to the style of his late father. There was a lot of emotion as he recalled memories of travelling with his father from Newbridge to Gorthaganny and passing Hyde Park on the way.
The chairman of the local committee, Seamus Crawley, delivered the address of welcome. Thanks was extended to the committee who played such a pivotal role in ensuring that the project came in on time.
Among those present was famous radio commentator Micheal O Muircheartaigh, colleagues of Dermot’s from the Roscommon four in a row Connacht winning teams of 1977-80, Johnny Doyle, Anthony Rainbow and Kieran McGeeney from Kildare, as well as various other GAA personal from the rest of the Connacht counties, including Galway three in a row winner John Keenan. Several colleagues from the Defence Forces were also present and military honours were rendered at the ceremony. (More on the special day in Gorthaganny will be featured in next week’s Mayo News).