Sadness at death of ‘passionate champion’ for County Limerick town

Norma Prendiville


Norma Prendiville

Fond farewell: John Dinnage, well-known retailer in Rathkeale, pictured in his shop a number of years ago

Fond farewell: John Dinnage, well-known retailer in Rathkeale, pictured in his shop a number of years ago

JOHN Dinnage, the man who embodied the best of the County Limerick town of Rathkeale for many, has died.

His death, at home and surrounded by his family, occurred on Monday morning and came after a short illness. 

Throughout his seven decades of life, John was a passionate champion for the town he grew up in and loved. And he used his seemingly boundless energy to promote those things he felt would benefit the town and the wider community. 

He was a businessman running his menswear shop with old-world courtesy and service. He was a devout member of his church and was active in the Pastoral Council. 

He was, for many, many years a trusted officer of Rathkeale Community Council and proved a wise and shrewd treasurer for projects which included the Rathkeale Community Centre and the Sports Complex.  

He played an active role in the development of Social Housing and of the Day Care Centre and Meals on Wheels in Rathkeale and was also involved in developing the Enterprise Centre at Enniscoush, now the home for the highly successful Rathkeale Boxing Club. 

Following the Special Olympics in Ireland in 2003, John became involved in the founding of the Butterfly Club, which provides respite social activity for scores of children and young people with special needs in the West Limerick area.

As treasurer, he played a guiding role as the organisation moved to establish its own, state-of-the-art centre in the former Andersen Ireland plant in Rathkeale and which is now ready for use.  

John Dinnage was also an active member of Limerick Community Games, acting as their treasurer for 25 years and persuading them, to establish their county headquarters in Rathkeale, to his great satisfaction. 

Limerick Community Games paid tribute to a “great friend, who always had a smile” who gave Trojan service to Community Games at both area and county level.

Known locally as Johnny Gazette, John inherited a love of cinema from his father and uncle who set up the cinema in Rathkeale and, from an early age, John worked in the projection room.

In his latter years, John became active with the Rathkeale Community Arts Group and his legendary knowledge of films was a driver in establishing the Rathkeale Film Club, showing classic films once a month in the local Arts Centre. 

A man who loved horse racing, loved a good story and told a better one, John had a quiet humour and a great sense of mischievous fun. He was a faithful and good friend and an outstanding husband, father and grandfather. 

For many, he embodied ‘old Rathkeale’ and he will be missed. 

John is survived by his wife Josephine, daughter Anne Maria, sons John and Gerard, his grandaughters, Mary, Vikki, Leighanne, Lauren, Jennifer, Olesya and their partners, great-grandaughter Ellie, sister Pauline, daughter-in-law Laura and Gerard's partner Trish and by his other relatives. 

His remains will lie in repose at his home on Main St, Rathkeale from 5pm to 8pm this Tuesday before removal to St Mary’s Church. Requiem Mass will take place at 12 noon on Wednesday.