Carrickbeg and Windgap parish priest Fr Tom Flynn was accorded one of Carrick Town Council’s highest honours at Carrick-on-Suir Town Hall last Thursday.
Town Mayor Cllr. Patsy Fitzgerald hosted a mayoral reception for Fr Flynn to honour him on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
The reception was attended by Fr Flynn’s brothers Bernard and Fr. Joe Flynn, members of the extended Flynn family and a large number of Carrickbeg and Windgap parishioners.
The Mayor presented Fr Flynn with a framed certificate and golf voucher and in his speech he took a sporting journey through 1971, the year of Fr. Flynn’s ordination, highlighting Tipperary’s win over Kilkenny in the All Ireland hurling final, Eddie Merckx winning the Tour de France, Arsenal winning the double in England, Chelsea winning the European Cup Winners Cup and the birth of golfer Padraig Harrington.
Cllr Fitzgerald spoke of Fr. Flynn’s own special memories of 1971 such as his ordination and spending the first six months of his priesthood in the neighbouring St. Nicholas Parish, Carrick on Suir.
Since the closure of the Franciscan Friary in 2006 both Mayor Fitzgerald and Fr. Tom have had a common interest in the future of the Church and its surrounds.
The Mayor has been very much involved in the care of the building now being used as an Arts Centre and he recalled meeting Fr. Flynn on the subject a number of times.
Fr. Flynn had particular concerns and the Mayor said he thought he had dealt with these concerns adequately and is pleased that the strategy and the vision outlined at the time are gradually being achieved.
They both also have been very closely linked with the refurbishment of the Parish Community Hall and the Mayor said the hall now stands as a testament to the cooperation of the Church and the local community.
Other Town Council members also paid tributes to Fr Flynn.
Cllr. Kieran Bourke said the parish of Carrickbeg and Windgap had benefited greatly during Fr. Flynn’s stewardship there and described him as a man of the people
Cllr. Sylvia Cooney Sheehan said Fr. Flynn was a very fair person and during his forty years as a priest, the respect his parishioners have had for him was very evident in the various parishes in which he served.
Cllr. Pierce O’Loughlin thanked Fr. Flynn for the attention and care he gave to Pierce’s late mother when she was a patient in Suirmount Nursing Home.
Cllr. Margaret Croke who nursed in Waterford Regional Hospital when Fr. Flynn was chaplain there, pointed out that he always had a good word for every patient.
New Councillor Sarah Dunne spoke of the positive way the young children in the primary schools in the Carrickbeg area relate to Fr Flynn and this was very evident at the Jubilee Celebration Mass.
Fr. Joe Flynn said this was a special occasion for the Flynn family and the community of Carrickbeg.He recalled when he was recuperating in Carrickbeg after an operation, the support his brother received from the parishioners was very evident and he hoped his brother would continue his good work in Carrickbeg and Windgap for many years to come.
Fr. Tom Flynn thanked the Mayor and Councillors for enabling him to celebrate with his friends in Carrick-on- Suir, a town he loves.
He said he hoped that he had afforded some comfort to his parishioners and was able to lend a listening ear when necessary.
He said a person was only as good as the people he or she works with, adding that Carrick-on-Suir has a reputation for welcoming outsiders.
He continued that without the support of his parishioners he would not have received this honour, and he accepted it on their behalf.
All present at the reception were invited to Walls Pub, Carrickbeg for refreshments after the ceremony.