Fintan Cooney, class '56
The Union was saddened to hear of the passing of Fintan Cooney, class of '56.
The death has occurred of Fintan COONEY M.R.C.V.S
Cooney, Fintan M.R.C.V.S (Mullingar) 14th March 2015 peacefully surrounded by his family. Loving and loved husband of Mary (nee Creedon), proud father of Fintan, Michael, Elizabeth, Alice, Patrick and the late Joseph and Niall, and brother of the late Christine. Sadly missed and fondly remembered by his loving family, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, 17 grandchildren, sisters Mary, Agnes and Gemma, brothers John, Pat and Garrett, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, relatives, colleagues and many friends.
Date Published: Saturday 14th March 2015 Date of Death: Saturday 14th March 2015
Fintan was one of four brothers - Garrett, class '53; Patrick, class '48 & John G, class '44 - who came to us from Longford, albeit their father Mark was then Cavan County Medical Officer based in Lisdarn.
After leaving Castleknock Fintan attended U.C.D. and qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 1963 and went on to build up the veterinary practice which was to become the Auburn Veterinary Hospital in Mullingar, Westmeath. The high regard with which he was held by his contemporaries saw him serve as President of both the Irish Veterinary Union and the Veterinary Council - the statutory body that regulates the profession in Ireland.
Politics also featured prominently culminating in appointment as Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council in 2009. It was only last summer that he retired after serving for 10 years in the council chamber, The eloquence first evidenced in the 'Knock Debating Society was much to the fore in the many tributes from the political chamber:-
“Fintan had a beautiful speaking voice and he used this gift wisely. He only ever spoke when there was something pertinent to say, something meaningful to contribute. He called a spade a spade and he had an innate ability to get to the core of an issue. When Fintan spoke, everybody listened”
His nephew Mark Cooney sat alongside him on the council for a number of years, and his brother Paddy had previously served as government minister and MEP. The Cooney's are Fine Gael royalty.
Fintan retained a life long interest in rugby. He was a pillar of the scrum for the 1955 SCT campaign which Knock lost 8 - 11 in the final to 'Rock, but not before the Irish Press reported “they got little change out of Barry and Cooney”. Hopes were high for 1956 campaign and in meeting Newbridge at quarter-final stage “we knew we were meeting a good team with a rugged and weighty pack of forwards. For this reason we would have preferred to have the services of our thirteen and a half stone scrummager, Fintan Cooney, who was at that moment on the injured list.” The absence was keenly felt for Knock lost 6 - 8 in a hard fought encounter. He didn't dwell on this misfortune and instead hit the ball out of the park with some good innings as an enthusiastic member of the Cricket XI. Post College, golf replaced cricket and he took a keen interest in Gaelic games where he followed the fortunes of both Westmeath and his native Longford very closely.
The Cooney's have always been great supporters of Castleknock, and Fintan, like his brothers John and Paddy before him, paid us the ultimate honour in sending his sons to Knock:- Fintan M, class '84; Michael, class '86; Patrick, class '94 & the late Niall, class '97. To his sons, brothers and nephews, his wife Mary, daughters Elizabeth and Alice and to the wider Cooney family, we extend our heartfelt sympathies.
Requiescat in Pace.