Ford tribute to former deputy mayor Eamon

ALLIANCE Leader David Ford has paid tribute to former Coleraine councillor Eamon O’Hara who passed away on Friday morning.

Councillor O’Hara, a former Deputy Mayor of Coleraine, was buried following a funeral mass at St John’s Parish Church on Sunday morning.

In a statement to The Coleraine Times, Mr Ford said: “I am sure I speak for everyone in the party in passing on my deepest condolences to Eamon’s family and friends, and in saying that he will be very sadly missed.

“Eamon was a very friendly and extremely popular figure in both the party and in Coleraine Borough Council.

“He was a dedicated campaigner for the community and was a committed Alliance activist who worked to help move Northern Ireland forward to a more peaceful future.

“Eamon was a very highly regarded and extremely hard working local representative and would always have gone that extra mile to help anyone. All our thoughts are with his family at this time.”

“The very large attendance at his funeral on Sunday showed the respect with which Eamon was held by so many people in his parish and a wide range of local groups and organisations across Coleraine.”

Mr O’Hara, who lived at Somerset Park in Coleraine, was a director of Causeway Enterprise Agency and a stalwart of the Knights of St Columbanus and Coleraine Lions Club.

He was also a tireless worker for St John’s Parish Church.

Speaking at his funeral, Fr Charlie Keaney said Eamon read his scriptures every sunday and went out and practised the word of God.

“He was committed to his faith and was a humble, caring and good man.”

A great lover of sport, Mr O’Hara received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List of 2003 for his services to swimming, rugby and the community in general.

He was co-founder of Coleraine Amateur Swimming Club in September 1969 and general secretary of the Provincial Towns Swimming Association, organising competitions for clubs around the provinces.

Coleraine Swimming Club’s main gala was named after him and in 2009 he was formally recognised for forty years of outstanding service to the club.

He was also involved with Coleraine Rugby Club at various levels since 1965 and was their club president during the 1995/6 season. A trophy for Most Improved Player each season is presented on his behalf.

He was president of the Coleraine and District Talking Newspaper and served as a local councillor with the Coleraine Borough from 1996 to 2000.

Mr O’Hara was the husband of the late Betty (Elizabeth), father of Paul, Noel, Tim and Helena.

Donations can be given to Talking News or St Vincent de Paul.