Tuesday, 17th July 2018
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The death has taken place of Mr. Sean Roche, Roanmore Park, Waterford which took place in University Hospital, Waterford on Monday, April 16. He was aged 87.

Sean was a lifelong trade unionist and Labour Party activist and was married to the former Mary Gallagher, daughter of the late Ald. Tom Gallagher, Roanmore Park and twice Labour Party Mayor of Waterford. They have two children Deirdre and Eoghan.

A native of Duncormick, Co. Wexford Sean grew up on the family farm and had one sister Carmel and four brothers, Richard, Jerry, Dermot and Ray. He trained in agricultural college but farming wasn’t for him and he came to Waterford where he worked as a psychiatric nurse in St. Otteran’s Hospital. He met his future wife Mary at a patient’s social night and they married over 61 years ago.

He excelled at sports and played for Wexford minors and was in the squad that reached the All Ireland Final 1950 to lose out to Kerry. When he came to Waterford he was on the county senior team that famously beat Kerry in 1957. He joined De La Salle GAA and was a member of the squad that won their last County football title in 1958. His lifelong passion for sports continued and as a spectator he went to football, hurling, rugby and soccer matches, and the many friends he made during his own sporting days remained steadfast until the end.

He had a lifelong belief in the cause of workers’ rights and led to his lifelong interest in the trade union movement. Starting with his own workplace he progressed to the highest elective office in the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union later SIPTU, being a senior member of the national executive council of both unions. In that capacity he was involved in the high level debates and negotiations which led to the years of Social Partnership that brought about the recovery of the Irish economy. His understated manner was hugely effective and he was seen as a strong but steady voice in the interests of working people. It can honestly be said that he that he made a contribution for good in his lifetime and leaves an honourable legacy.

He was co-opted onto Waterford Corporation where he gave valiant service representing the Labour Party.

In a wonderful eulogy his son Eoghan recalled the highlights of his parents time together and with some humourous comments brought his Dad’s memory to life to the large attendance at the funeral Mass. He recalled his parents love of Curracloe where they spent many happy years during the summer months.

Even when Sean was confined to bed in the latter few years of his life he kept up his interest in sports and news through TV and Sky Sports where he followed sports from all over the world. He kept abreast with his daily Irish Indpendent of the current news events and was very knowledgeable on both local and national politics. His daughter Deirdre provided the following quote for the funeral mass: "Death is at once the end of the bodies old journey and the beginning of the soul’s new journey."

His remains were removed from Thompsons funeral parlour to the Holy Family Church at 7.30 on Wednesday last, and his hearse had a guard of honour provided by members of the Labour Party.

Following 11 a.m. Requiem Mass on Thursday last his burial took place in Butlerstown cemetery accompanied by a large cortege of mourners.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilis.

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