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Dublin: 16 °C Friday 14 August, 2020

'He was full of ideas for the future': Archbishop of Dublin pays tribute to Fr Tony Coote

Fr Tony Coote, who suffered from motor neurone disease, died last week.

Coote featured in an RTÉ documentary chronicling his campaigning.
Coote featured in an RTÉ documentary chronicling his campaigning.
Image: RTÉ

FATHER TONY COOTE, the social justice campaigner who suffered from motor neurone disease, “made us feel humbled in the face of what he could do”, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said yesterday evening. 

The priest, who was diagnosed with the disease last March, died on Wednesday. Since his diagnosis, he had focused on raising awareness of the disease and fundraising for research. 

“He lived every day and inspired every day until the end,” Martin told those gathered at a removal service on Sunday evening in the Church of Saint Laurence O’Toole, Kilmacud, where he was administrator alongside the Church of St Thérèse Church, Mount Merrion. 

“Tony’s vision was of a community of believers where those who suffer and are troubled or who fall into sin and distress or who feel abandoned are never rejected but are encountered with love and mercy and support,” Martin said. 

“We have heard in these days many people tell their own stories of what Tony meant for them,” he added. 

We get a glimpse of the enormity of the priestly ministry of Tony over 28 years, in Ballymun, in UCD and here in this area.  For Tony it was not a question of enormity, but of a myriad of individual simple gestures of kindness and support, of love and respect for young and old, for the conventional and the unconventional, for the orthodox and the unorthodox.  

Fr Coote will be buried today after mass in the Church of St. Thérèse.

In May, he published a book Live While You Can and was the subject of RTÉ documentary Walking the Walk, which chronicled his walk through Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick and Cork to raise money for research and treatment of motor neurone disease. 

In recent days, various people have paid tribute to Fr Coote, including fellow members of the clergy and Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan.

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