A HEARTBROKEN Marty Morrissey has paid an emotional tribute to his beloved mother Peggy.
Huge crowds of mourners attended the funeral of Peggy Morrissey at St Mary’s Church in Mullagh on Sunday. The Cork native died following a single vehicle road collision in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Former RTÉ Northern Editor, Tommie Gorman plus representatives from President Michael D. Higgins and Taoiseach Micheál Martin (FF) were in attendance alongside many friends, neighbours and colleagues of Marty. Ruan’s Sharon Shannon and Tommy Fleming were among those to provide music at the mass.
Among the items placed in front of the altar as symbols of her life were a family photo, Peggy’s rosary beads and prayer book, her red lipstick, her driver’s license, a Cork flag as well as the Statue of Liberty.
Peggy was described by her only child, RTÉ broadcaster Marty as a rebel proud of hailing from North Clare with a love of human contact, craic and banter. “She was loyal, determined, witty, funny, deeply religious, a daily mass goer, so loving, a fabulous wife and adoring mother. She was also a 5ft 4in force of nature, argumentative, stubborn, fiercely independent, intensely confident and to be honest really annoying on occasion.
“This was Peggy Morrissey. In my humble opinion, the greatest Irish mother in the history of motherhood,” said Marty who admitted it was “an honour” to be her only child. He said the days after her death represented the worst of his life.
Phone calls were exchanged between Marty and Peggy every morning at 10am, lunchtime, after 4pm, following the Six:One News, at 10pm and again when she was in bed. Thinking of not having that daily contact prompted Marty’s voice to break from the altar, “my mother was no ordinary woman. How am I going to survive without her”.
His mother had two major fears, Marty revealed. “She hated the thought that she could one day end up in a home for some reason. I would never, ever have allowed that happen to her. And she hated wind and storms with a passion”.
“She was a rogue, as you here will have known. She always put on a seatbelt when she was in my car, whether we would be driving to Spanish Point or up to Knock. I learned over the last few days that she didn’t wear her seatbelt when she was driving herself”.
Marty paid tribute to the emergency services who said three Hail Mary’s with him when they took his mother from her car. He thanked his three families for all the love they showed him during recent days. “My friends here in this parish are my brothers and sisters who have responded so magnificently to my greatest tragedy of losing you last Monday night. I’m lucky, Mam and Dad, you brought me home to this parish when I was 10. This is where I belong, this is home”.
Support from his colleagues in RTÉ will be cherished, he said. “It’s hard to comprehend what my colleagues did over the past few days, but my respect for the organisation and its people reached new heights. I know many of them are here today.
“My third family is the GAA community nationwide. I am overwhelmed by the people from Croke Park to every county in Ireland who has reached out to me in my hour of need. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, everyone who rallied around me because, to be honest, I was good for nothing”.
He concluded, “I loved my mother with all my heart. I spent all my life with her. She gave me everything – total and utter unconditional love. I will miss her so much. My life has changed this week. Mom, I adored the ground you walked on. My life revolved around you, and I would do it all again if I could. We were a team: the most formidable mother and son team in the world. I have to let you go now, mom. Go to dad and tell him I loved him too. You lived life to the full. There is no doubt, Peggy Morrissey, you did it your way. Mum, thank you for giving me the strength to do this. I love you”.