Goretti Neville


Goretti Neville was loyal to her Tipperary roots

limerick Leader – 21st March 2009

Goretti Neville

Wife and mother to successful West Limerick Political Family

GORETTI Neville’s distinguishing characteristic was loyalty. She was a woman who believed in being steadfast – a woman who saw value and purpose in being loyal to her roots and to what she believed was important and true. And so, throughout her fore-shortened life, her guiding principle was to strive to be loyal, at all times, to place, husband, children, family, friends, profession and to politics – and to her God whom she trusted to guide her always.

She was a woman of many parts. As a child of Michael and Mary O’Callaghan of Bishopswood, Dundrum, Co. Tipperary, she was a frequent visitor back to her home place. She loved all that it and her family stood for and was assiduous in keeping mindful, ongoing connection and distant cousins and relatives. Yet she embraced and her husband, Dan’s family with equal enthusiasm.

A woman who neither sought nor knew no greater accolade than being “aTipperrary woman”, she nevertheless let it be known, long before her death, that she wanted to be buried in Limerick.

After schooling in Bishopswood and later at St. Anne’s Convent in her beloved Tipperary town, she chose to train as a nurse in the Regional Hospital, Limerick. Though not the first woman to combine family and career, she was, nevertheless, representative of a new generation of women who looked towards equality and partnership. And she was always enormously happy in her work, which stretched over 30 years at the same hospital.

After she married her husband, Dan Neville, Fine Gael TD, in 1974, she became also a partner in his political ambitions and demonstrated her loyalty, particularly at election time, through her tremendous energy in canvassing. Her own roots in Fine Gael, stretching back to the foundation of the state, to Michael Collins and her family’s connection with Cumann na nGaedhal, had bequethed its own legacy, which Goretti made for a clear grasping of political realities, hopes and strategies. Her sense of pride in her husband Dan’s political achievements, and later those of her son Tom, when he became a county councillor, were rooted in fealty to a political philosophy as much as in personal pride.

She was a mother who was unstinting in her encouragement of her children, Tom, Maria, Maeve and Danny. She was a strong-minded woman who was known by her family and friends as a straight-talker who preferred, and expected, an honest response. For all that, she did not impose her own viewpoint. A private, reserved woman, she nonetheless loved having fun.

She was a loyal friend, maintaining close friendships over many years. She was also a valued neighbour and a fond past member of Kilfinny ICA, which she joined when she came to live in West Limerick.

She was a woman who believed in the idea of home as sanctuary and her home was a place of music, classical music mainly but also loved musicals and songs. Before her death, she had booked tickets for the Elton John concert in Thomand Park.

She loved her garden, she was enthusiastic about her dogs and, whilst she had the energy to do so, she was an enthusiastic walking club member.

To the end, she refused to be defeated and through a period of almost three years of ill-health, when specialists were baffled by her condition, she applied brain and heart to finding a solution. Once a firm diagnosis was reached, and once appropriate treatment restored her to her energetic self, she happily turned her face to the future.

In a short space of months, she accomplished many of her plans – remodelling her home, taking her first holiday for several years, celebrating Christmas that was singularly happy, working out the details with her daughter Maria of the first family wedding.

She also gave her voice to a public campaign calling publically for dialysis treatment to be made available in Limerick – not on her own behalf but on behalf of those obliged, at the same time, to make a long, grueling journey to Galway several times a week.

But an untoward sequence of events led to her unexpected death – a leave-taking that has left her husband and family, her friends, relatives and neighbours grievously berefit.

She will always be remembered by them as her own woman. And they will always feel her loss.

Goretto Neville; born July 1 1050, died January 27 2009.

Norma Prendiville. Limerick Leader.


Written by Rachael Finucane

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

LIMERICK Fine Gael deputies have expressed their sympathies to Dáil colleague, Dan Nevillle, on the death of his wife yesterday morning.

Goretti Neville passed away after an illness and is survived by Dan; sons, county councillor, Tom, and Danny and daughters, Maeve and Maria.

Deputy Michael Noonan is a close, personal friend of both Dan and Goretti and said that he was “extremely saddened to hear of her death and wanted to offer his deepest condolences to the family”.

Deputy Kieran O’Donnell paid tribute to Mrs Neville and also offered his condolences to the west Limerick TD.

“I express my deepest sympathies to Dan and the entire family at this sad time. Goretti was a lovely person who was always a great support to Dan. My thoughts are with them all at this time,” he said.

South-west MEP Colm Burke offered his sympathy and said that Mrs Neville was a “lovely lady and it is awful to see Dan and his family suffer such a loss”.

Mrs Neville, nee O`Callaghan, was a native of Dundrum in Tipperary and the Limerick family home is in Croagh.

Local activists and friends said this Tuesday that she will be very sadly missed.

Deputy Neville is very well known for his work as a TD in county Limerick since he was first elected in 1997.

He is the Fine Gael spokesman on mental health issues and is also the President of the Irish Association of Suicidology.


A sincere compliment to Goretti Neville.

written by Mike Scott, February 05, 2009

Dan and Goretti Neville were our guests a few years ago for our annual St. Patrick’s celebration in Emmetsburg, Iowa (USA). They represented Ireland in fine fashion – very friendly, sincere and cordial. You’re Irish friends in Emmetsburg are truly saddend by the news of Goretti’s passing, but she will always live in our hearts – forever!

Warm regards,

Mike & Gennifer Scott

Emmetsburg, IA.

Limerick Leader

Jobs today Property today Motors today Local Pages Today Business Directory


Community say farewell to Goretti


The funeral of Goretti Neville

Published Date: 05 February 2009

A BUST of Michael Collins, the Glenstal Book of Prayer and her wedding ring were among the gifts that lay at the foot of the altar during the funeral Mass for Goretti Neville in St John the Baptist church in Croagh last Saturday.

They were, Fr Anthony Mulvihill told the overflow congregation, emblems of what was important in her life.

Later, in his homily, Fr Mulvihill, who was at Goretti Neville’s bedside in the last hours of her life, described that life as being guided by love, a love that came in many shapes – love of her husband and family, love for her parents, love of God, love for her friends and love of politics.

He spoke too of her sense of joy, her merry laughter, her friendship and her sense of truth and simple goodness – and of her stoic calm in the face of her long illness which was “painful for her and painful to witness”.

Goretti, he said, was steadfast, brave and always hopeful she could overcome her ordeal.

Fittingly, in the prayers of the faithful, those who had shared Goretti’s thrice-weekly, gruelling journey to Galway for dialysis were remembered as were organ donors and their families.

The Taoiseach was represented at the Mass by Comdt Michael Treacy, and the congregation included local community leaders as well as friends, neighbours and large numbers from the world of politics.

At the removal on Friday night, the queues of those who attended to extend condolences to the family continued for almost five hours, with many people waiting for up to two hours to pass through the funeral home.

Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, also made the journey to Rathkeale to express his solidarity with Dan Neville TD and his family.

The Croagh Community Council opened the community centre in Croagh to provide teas for those attending the removal ceremony and at the funeral Mass on Saturday, the centre was again opened and linked by radio to the church to accomodate the overflow congregation.

A guard of honour, formed by members of the Fine Gael family, accompanied the hearse for part of Goretti Neville’s last journey to the old cemetery in Adare where she was buried.

Goretti’s son and county councillor, Tom, in a simple, unadorned statement, thanked all those who had cared for Goretti during her illness, her friends during her life and illness and the kindness of community, neighbours and political colleagues in the family’s grief.

Goretti Neville died unexpectedly on Tuesday, January 27. She had been unwell for a number of years but had been receiving dialysis treatment for the past year.

She was the only child of the late Mick and Mary O’Callaghan from Dundrum, Co Tipperary and was a trained nurse, working with dedication at the Mid-West Regional Hospital for most of her working life until her illness made it impossible for her to continue.

She married Dan Neville in 1974 and was “unflinching” in her support of his political career, first as councillor and later as senator and TD. She was also supportive of her son Tom who succeeded Dan as councillor over five years ago. She is survived by her husband Dan and her children Tom, Maria, Maeve and Danny, by other relatives and by a wide circle of friends.

The full article contains 553 words and appears in n/a newspaper.


Limerick Leader

Shock at sudden passing of Limerick TD’s wife


Goretti Neville RIP

Published Date: 29 January 2009

THE political community in West Limerick received another shocking blow this week following the death of Goretti Neville, wife of Fine Gael TD, Dan Neville and mother of Cllr Tom Neville.

The nurse and mother-of-four died in the Regional Hospital early on Tuesday morning following complications with pneumonia.

She had suffered from a rare kidney disease for a number of years and was receiving regular dialysis treatment but her death, in her late 50s, was unexpected.

She and her husband Dan had just returned from a short break in Lanzarote where she had arranged for her dialysis treatment to continue. She felt unwell at the weekend and went into hospital.

Her unexpected death has stunned her family, particularly as she had coped so calmly and so courageously with the strains and rigours of her medical condition.

Within her family circle, she had spent an extremely happy Christmas – buoyed up with plans for her daughter, Maria’s, wedding next year.

Sadly, the family is now awaiting Maria’s return home from New Zealand before funeral arrangements can be finalised.

An only child, Goretti O’Callaghan was born in Dundrum in County Tipperary. She trained as a nurse and most of her working life was spent in the Mid-West Regional Hospital.

Only ill-health forced her from her work, which always commanded her complete dedication, a number of years ago.

A deeply private person, she nonetheless took a keen and active interest in politics and was a woman who knew her own mind.

She was always a huge supporter of her husband Dan’s political career, as councillor, senator and later TD and was active in his campaigns.

When her son Tom decided to enter representative politics, she was equally supportive of him.

Family and home, however, were at the heart of her life and she was unsparing in her care for and support of her children, Tom, Maria, Maeve and Danny.

She also cared for her late father at Kiltannin, Croagh until his death.

She endured the burden of her illness with a quiet stoicism and despite the long periods she had to spend in hospital. When dialysis was prescribed, she was unable to get the treatment in Limerick and instead had to endure a gruelling round-trip to Galway and a ten-hour day, three days a week.

Her reaction was to call for and campaign publicly for an improved service for all in Limerick on behalf of the Irish Kidney Association. And she went on national radio to plead for a better service for others.

The family has requested no flowers at the funeral but those who wish can make a donation to the Irish Kidney Association.

The removal and burial are expected to take place this weekend. Limerick County Council was adjourned this Tuesday as a mark of respect to the family.