‘It was an absolute pleasure to call you my brother’: Emotional tribute as courageous Clonmel man Kieran Hickey is laid to rest

Courageous Tipperary man's life celebrated after battle with cystic fibrosis.

Dylan White

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Dylan White

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dylan.white@iconicnews.ie

The life of a Clonmel man who battled cystic fibrosis was celebrated at St. Mary’s Church in Irishtown on Friday (January 12th).

‘Courageous and generous’ Kieran Hickey was the fourth member of his family to pass away from the genetic disorder, survived by parents Michael and Bridie, brother Michael, sister in law Marie, nephews Brian and Ciaran, niece Ailish, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Kieran’s brother Michael paid an emotional tribute to the late 44-year-old, while fondly remembering siblings Kay, Brian and Laois who also passed away to cystic fibrosis.

“We have been close to this a few times over the years, but time after time Kieran completely baffled his medical team in Dublin with his determination and incredible strength in which he possessed,” Michael told mourners.

“Kieran fought like crazy to stay with us, and even though he won many battles over the years he was written off on a regular basis. Unfortunately, cystic fibrosis finally won the war. During his most recent 14 week stay in hospital we were told on four occasions that he was finished, but he wasn't and on three of them anyway he managed to fight back to where we really thought he was out of the woods and that he would come back home to us. Obviously the fourth time they got it right, and to be honest I reckon he was feeling sorry for the doctors at that stage and didn’t want to keep making them look bad.

“While it’s a very sad day for us we cannot begrudge Kieran the peace he finally has. It’s not just the last 14 weeks that he was ill, but he struggled to breathe the last 14 years and if you think about it possibly the 44 years of his life. Now, at last, he doesn't have to struggle to fight for every breath which is something we all take for granted. And even though it was a struggle for Kieran to breathe and his quality of life had been deteriorating for many years, I honestly believe that it was his love for Ciaran, Brian and Ailish that kept him with us for so long,” Michael said.

Michael praised his “incredible” parents Michael and Bridie for caring for his four deceased siblings -  Kay, Brian, Laois and  Kieran - over the past 50 years.

“Dad made the point that Wednesday morning was the first time in 50 years  that himself and mam didn't have to worry about getting the lads medicines, defibrillators and physios. Imagine, the first time in 50 years that they woke up and just had to think of themselves for a change. But I know, as all of you do, that they would of happily continued doing it. After 50 years you’re due a break, you’re incredible people”.

Michael thanked doctors, nurses, friends of the family and the Tipperary branch of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland for their support the past 50 years, while also reserving praise for the people of Clonmel who aided with fundraisers.

“Over the 50 years the town of Clonmel have been extremely generous and supportive to mam and dad’s fundraising efforts for Cystic Fibrosis as there were always neighbours and friends of the family who were available for church gate collections, charity walks, mini marathons, you name it, they were always there to help raise funds,” he highlighted.

Michael praised Kieran’s generosity, adding: “Every Christmas we would arrive home to bags and bags of presents for the kids. The amount of stuff he would have was unreal . He was like a skinny Santa. He never missed a birthday and his generosity was incredible. He even made sure he got Christmas presents this year even though he was in hospital fighting for his life”.

Kieran's burial later took place at Touraneena Cemetery.