Who will bury Conneely now Jimmy has retired?

Jimmy Kilbane (centre), who has retired from Galway City Council after 30 years' service, pictured with councillors Padraig Conneely and Terry O'Flaherty.
Jimmy Kilbane (centre), who has retired from Galway City Council after 30 years' service, pictured with councillors Padraig Conneely and Terry O'Flaherty.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Jimmy Kilbane has retired after 30 years’ service working with Galway City Council. Formerly of Achill in Mayo, and now living in Mervue, Jimmy was cemeteries’ supervisor at New Cemetery in Bohermore, and in Rahoon.

During his career, he worked with five different local authority chiefs: Seamus Keating, Joe Gavin, John Tierney, Joe McGrath, and the current chief executive, Brendan McGrath.

Jimmy has buried more than 7,500 people between the two graveyards owned by the local authority, among them the late Lord Killanin in the family vault in Bohermore; and golfer Christy O’Connor Junior in Rahoon. Poignantly, he also exhumed around 15 bodies – mostly children – for reburial in other cemeteries throughout Ireland.

Jimmy had the distinction of burying 15 city mayors over his 30 years in the business.

The first former mayor he laid to rest, was Josie Owens, who was mayor in 1953.

The most recent mayors who he laid to rest were Pat McNamara and Bobby Molloy, both of whom died last year.

At a retirement party in Tonery’s Bar, two former mayors, who are very much alive and kicking – Terry Polltopper O’Flaherty (Ind) and Pádraig Conneely (FG) – paid tributes to Jimmy.

Terry reminisced about her mother, Bridie, the late Progressive Democrats councillor who was also a former mayor, who was buried by Jimmy.

Aside from Jimmy’s plans for retirement, the big question on everyone’s lips in Tonery’s was: who’s going to bury Terry and Pádraig now Jimmy is gone?

One suspects there’d be any amount of takers with shovels at the ready to bury the latter controversial councillor.

“We’ll be burned at the stake,” joked Pádraig.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.