Profound sadness has been caused by the passing of Con Donovan, a much loved and respected politician, father figure of the Fianna Fail party for decades in the South Tipperary constituency.
The 86 year old Mr Donovan, a politician, shopkeeper and farmer, of Main Street, Ballyporeen was a stalwart Fianna Fail figure on a local and national level. He was a former chairman of South Tipperary County Council and the South Eastern Health Board where he proudly represented the people of Araglin, Ballporeen, the Cahir electoral area and the people of South Tipperary with distinction over almost four decades.
He was steeped in a republican and Fianna Fail tradition. He was elected secretary of the FF cumann as a seventeen year old, a post he held up to two years ago, and his life was devoted to the party and the people he represented.
He was first elected as chairman of South Tipperary County Council in 1960 and when he retired thirty nine years later he was the longest serving member of that authority.
In 1989 he held the position of Chairman of the County Council and the South Eastern Health Board and played an influential role in securing the amalgamation of acute hospital services in Clonmel.
He was one of three in the family of John Donovan, a veteran of the War of Independence and Civil War, and Mary, a member of Cumann na mBan, and it was natural for him to immerse himself in the Fianna Fail party as a young man.
He was a shopkeeper/farmer and ran a family business in Main Street, Ballyporeen with his wife Nora and family. They had four sons John, Neil,Eamon and Tomas.
Con, who was a great admirer of De Valera and Lemass, was elected to the County Council in 1960. He was secretary of the FF Comhairle Dail Ceanntair for decades and was director of elections on numerous occasions serving the party in the time of Dan Breen, the two Daverns, Sean McCarthy, Sean Byrne and Carrie Acheson.
He proudly welcomed to his home as visitors Taoisigh Charles Haughey, Bertie Ahearn and Garret Fitzgerald.
One of his proudest moments was welcoming American President Ronald Reagan to Ballyporeen in 1984. He had worked tirelessly for four years previously preparing for the visit and he played an integeral role in eastablishing the Ronald Reagan Centre in the village.
For the first time the local community council invited the famly to use the Ronald Reagan Centre last Thursday evening for the repose of his remains, a gesture greatly appreciated by the family.
Burial took place on Friday morning following Requiem Mass at the Church of the Assumption.
“The family was very proud to accept the invitation to use the Ronald Reagan Centre. It was the first time that it was used for a funeral and it was a poignant time for us to have the centre at the centre of the funeral arrangements given that Con spent so many years building up to the famous visit and continued to work with Bord Failte and other organisations following the visit to enhance the profile of the village,” said his eldest son John.
Con Donovan, after a two year illness, died on Tuesday of last week at Corpus Christi Nursing Home in Mitchelstown.
His son John said the family were grateful to staff at the nursing home for the care given to their father over those two years.
He also thanked family, friends, neighbours, the community and the public for their messages of sympathy and said the family were overwhelmed by the support shown to the family.