FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has led the tributes this Wednesday to “my closest friend” Richard Butler.
Limerick was saddened when the former county Cathaoirleach, and Raheen councillor Butler died this week, aged just 56, after a brave battle against cancer.
Hundreds were present at St Nessan’s Church in Raheen to pay their last respects to the popular councillor.
In his eulogy, Mr Noonan recalled the first time he met “Richie” when he was just 12 years old.
“He was a lovely young fella – bright eyes, and full of devilment.” The Finance Minister also recalled a special song composed to celebrate Mungret’s victorious hurling team of 1975, which Cllr Butler was a part of.
Recalling the line ‘Young Butler down from Dooradoyle to play on fields of green’, Mr Noonan said: “It would become Richie’s victory song in the many elections he won.”
He also recalled a trip the pair made to the Galway Races, which had a sour ending after a jockey celebrated his win prematurely – and lost Cllr Butler thousands of pounds.
En route back to Limerick, Mr Noonan said Richie remained silent, until Bunratty Castle when another member of his party said the jockey must have made a mistake.
“Then he took off like a rocket. I thought I had a well developed vocabulary, but I learnt a lot of words then,” he told mourners.
He said he would remember Cllr Butler as “the loving husband, the proud father, the faithful brother, the good friend”.
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