by ehistoryadmin on February 21, 2014

Leinster Leader 26 November 1977


Through the death last week of Mr. Fintan Brennan at his residence, Cois na hAbhann, Athy, at the age of 92, the G.A.A. movement in Co. Kildare particularly, and in Leinster generally, lost one of its most dominant and often controversial figures of the last half-century and more.

As a trustee of KildareG.A.A.County Board, he was in constant touch with Association activities.  His voice was influential, beneficial, and at times disapproving.  With him, the ideals of the G.A.A. were sacrosanct.  On occasions when he felt there was some deviation from those ideals he was forceful in his opposition and denunciation.

Such was the measure of the esteem in which he was held, the appreciation of his sincerity, that even those who disagreed with his views invariably  respected him for them.

A native of Monasterevan district, as a youth he joined the staff of Mr. Denis Boland at Vicarstown.  In 1910 he gave up the idea of business training, and entered the employment of the Grand Canal Co. to become their agent at Mountmellick, New Ross, Muinebeag and Monasterevan.  He joined Sinn Féin in 1912, and his activities in the Anglo-Irish struggle led to his arrest by the British and imprisonment in Mountjoy, Wormwood Scrubs and Parkhurst, Isle of Wight.  His release came in 1922 under the General Amnesty.

With the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, he became one of the first district court clerks.  At that time he was no stranger to court procedure, for he had previously acted as a justice of the parish or Dail courts in Monasterevan under Sinn Féin during the British occupation of the country.  For 38 years he filled the post of district court clerk in exemplary fashion.  He retired in July, 1960.

He was a leading member of the original South Kildare Bee-keepers Association, and of the revived association.  He loved the Irish language of which he had a competent knowledge.  As a youth he was a prominent Gaelic footballer.

During the years he was actively interested in the G.A.A. he was elected chairman of the Leinster Council for a term.  Today Geraldine Park, Athy, is a monument to his enthusiasm and industry, for he was a prime mover in initiating the scheme of improvements.  Mr. Brennan is survived by his son, Mr. Tadhg Brennan, State Solicitor, his daughter, Mrs. Sinead Fennin and his grandchildren.

After Requiem Mass, which was said by a cousin, Rev. Brian D’Arcy, C.C. Freshford, he was interred in St. Michael’s Cemetery, Athy, with full military honours accorded by an army unit from the Curragh.  On the way to the cemetery members of Athy G.F.C. acted as a guard of honour.  The G.A.A. paid him final tribute by the presence of its Director General, Mr. Sean O Siochain.  Kildare Co. Board of G.A.A. was represented by its chairman, Mr. Hugh Campion, and the Leinster Council by its trustree, Mr. Hugh Byrne.

Athy U.D.C. passed a resolution of sympathy with the deceased’s family.  Mr. Paddy Dooley, presiding chairman, referred to the proud national record of the late Mr. Brennan, his work for the Gaelic League, and his outstanding service to the G.A.A.  He had been an adornment to Athy since he came there over 50 years ago, added Mr. Dooley. 

The county Manager, Mr. J. G. Ward, associated himself with the resolution and tributes. 


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