Bobby Aylward: Former Fianna Fáil TD Bobby Aylward remembered as “a presence full of integrity, humor and kindness”

Former Fianna Fáil TD Bobby Aylward is remembered as a man who loved his family to the core.

r Aylward, 67, was described as “a presence full of integrity, humour, courage, resilience and kindness” during his funeral service at All Saints Church in Knockmoylan in Co Kilkenny this afternoon.

The former TD for Carlow and Kilkenny died on July 14 after a long illness.

His son Mark thanked the doctors and nurses at St Vincent’s Hospital for looking after Mr Aylward throughout his illness.

“Father was a great husband, father, grandfather, brother and a very good friend to all.

“I’m sure he’s with nanny, grandpa and his little sister Kathleen and looks down on all of us,” he said.

“Father had great interests in life and his main interest was the farm, until recently he was still the boss.

“Politics was another love of his dad, he’s had a few hits over time but his drive was there.

“Another love of my father was the GAA and skidding in particular. And now the family, mom and dad, have been together for 46 years and to be honest he was lost without mom. I don’t think he has ever cooked in his life and especially in the last year it just shows the love between two people.

“She will be heartbroken and all of us except mum he loved you so much and we want to thank you.

“He was always so good to all of us, we will miss him dearly but we will never forget him. I know he will always look down on us and take care of us. We will miss you very much, dad, love.”

A number of symbols were brought to the altar to represent the life of Mr Aylward including the game program of Sunday’s All-Ireland Hurling Final to symbolize his love for the GAA, a ballot paper representing his long political career, his cap, which he wore to the farm daily to represent his lifelong love of farming and a family portrait.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he had always received “honest and constructive advice” from Mr Aylward as a senior member of Fianna Fáil and could always count on his “wonderful, warm and good humor”.

Mr Martin described the 67-year-old as a “wonderful friend, trusted colleague and wise adviser”.

“It is an honor to be with you today as we gather to celebrate the passing of our good friend Bobby Aylward.

Bobby’s first wish today would be for us to give our comfort and support to Helena who has been such a wonderful support and companion to him for so many years,” he told the mourners.

“And also to Triona, Bob and Mark and their families who he was so proud of and loved so much. The incredible steadfastness and good humor that Bobby has shown throughout his illness is due to the support you have given him and the pride he felt every time he spoke of his family.

“Anyone privileged to know the Aylwards knows they are close family.

“Bobby has always thought of others and has been selfless in his devotion to family, community and country. I first met Bobby when he was on the District Council and specifically as its Chair. He has always been a passionate advocate for his community.

“However, during the 2015 by-election, I really got to know Bobby and saw the passion and empathy that made him such a special person.”

He said everything Mr Aylward has done as a public representative is guided by very clear convictions.

“Whatever he did, he did it for the most important reasons, to serve.

“He always had a special place in his heart and in his work for agriculture. He had a deep connection and understanding of the work and challenges of farming. He had a common sense understanding of what was important to farmers.

“Wherever he was and whatever position he held, Bobby stayed rooted here, among his people, and sustained by the love and support of his family.”

Mr Aylward is survived by his wife Helena, daughter Triona, sons Bob and Mark, daughters-in-law Lisa and Margaret, beloved grandchildren Dylan, Chloe, Leah, Taylor, Jack, Kate and baby Ella. Bobby Aylward: Former Fianna Fáil TD Bobby Aylward remembered as “a presence full of integrity, humor and kindness”

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