HIGHLY RESPECTED The late Seamus Hughes is pictured during his term as State Solicitor for Mayo.
Well-known former judge and TD (69) died after a battle with illness
Michael Duffy and Anton McNulty
THE funeral arrangements have been announced after the death of Seamus Hughes, the former judge and TD from Westport, who passed away after a brave battle with illness on Tuesday.
Reposing will be at his residence on the Newport Road in Westport this Thursday evening from 5pm to 8pm. Requiem Mass is on Friday afternoon at 3.30pm in St Mary’s Church, Westport with burial afterwards in Aughagower Cemetery.
Seamus will be sadly missed by his loving wife Maria, sons Colin, Emmet and Donal, daughter Sarah, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, brothers, sisters, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, relatives and large circle of friends.
Born in 1952, Seamus was the third eldest in a family of 13 and a long-time Fianna Fáil party member.
He was initially co-opted onto Westport Urban District Council in 1984 before his election to Mayo County Council in 1985. He was subsequently elected to Dáil Eireann in 1992, representing the Mayo West constituency, and served for five years.
A qualified solicitor, Mr Hughes was appointed State Solicitor for Mayo in 2000 and then served as a District Court Judge from 2009.
Commenting on his death, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “I am deeply saddened at the passing of Seamus Hughes, someone who served the people of Westport with distinction as a TD and Councillor. I knew Seamus very well, as a colleague in the Dail, and later in his time as a District Court Judge. He was a very calm, measured and decent individual. A thorough gentleman. My deepest sympathies for to his wife Maria and children, Colin, Emmet, Sarah and Donal.”
Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo, Dara Calleary, said he too was deeply saddened to learn of Mr Hughes’s passing.
“Seamus was a proud man and an immense public representative. His distinguished service to his community, county and party is one that inspires and is a model for others to follow.
“Seamus was part of a generation of public representatives whose shared vision and ambition for Westport had huge influence on the success of the town today. His political and legal legacy will be felt for many years to come. I offer my deepest condolences to the Hughes family, his wife Maria, his daughter Sarah, his sons, Colin, Emmet and Donal, his siblings and his wider family. Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.”
Legal colleagues pay tribute
Tributes were also paid by legal colleagues at a sitting of the Circuit Court in Castlebar.
Leading the tributes to Mr Hughes was his successor in the role of State Solicitor for Mayo, Vincent Deane, who said that he helped him enormously when he succeeded him in the role. Mr Deane said he will be greatly missed by all the State Solicitors in Ireland and by all who served and worked with him in the court system.
Circuit Court Judge Brian O’Callaghan said he had the pleasure more than once of appearing before Judge Hughes when he worked as a solicitor and said that he always very conscious of what he had to say with respect to the law.
He described Mr Hughes as a ‘community lawyer, a community state solicitor and a community man’ who was instrumental on making changes for the better with regard to the way the legal system in the country functioned and taking the courts ‘outside the Pale’.
Judge O’Callaghan concluded by saying that Mayo had lost a popular son who had done the county some service.
Marc Loftus, on behalf of the solicitors of Mayo. said that he was saddened to hear of the news of Mr Hughes who he said had served the county for many years. He said as a judge he was always fair and had a good working relationship with all sides and he passed on his sympathies to his family.
Mr Diarmuid Connolly, on behalf of the barristers of the county, said the death of Mr Hughes was ‘a serious loss to the county’. He said he often thinks of the many cups of coffee drank with Mr Hughes after a Circuit Court sitting in Westport and he learned a lot from him.
Sympathies were also extended to the family of Mr Hughes on behalf of the probation services and the court services in Mayo.
See an obituary for Seamus Hughes on our website at https://www.mayonews.ie/obituaries/38586-seamus-hughes