Margaret Gormley remembered as ‘a woman of great integrity and principle, small in stature but with the heart of a lion’

The funeral has taken place of the veteran South Sligo councillor Margaret Gormley.

Following Mass in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Bunninadden this afternoon, she was laid to rest in Cloonameehan Cemetery, not far from her home in the townland of Carrowloughlin, between Ballymote and Tubbercurry.

Margaret Gormley served for almost 40 years as a member of Sligo County Council, consistently topping the poll, just like her late father Willie before her.

That popularity was again obvious today as a huge crowd turned out to bid her a final farewell from a cross-section of politics, sport, farming and other community interests.

They recalled a woman who was a passionate fighter for rural communities.

But her appeal extended far beyond that, a factor personified by the presence of Independent Socialist Councillor Declan Bree, from Sligo who spoke at her graveside.

Cllr Bree is now the longest serving member of Sligo County Council.

For years at council meetings, he and Cllr Gormley had sat beside each other on the Independent benches.

Today, he told those gathered at her funeral that given his political background — living in a town, representing a largely urban area — some commentators might have expected they would have significant differences.

But he said they became close friends, describing her as ‘a unique and exceptional woman.’

He said they both recognised they had very much in common as they fought to protect and advance the interests of the ordinary people of the county — both urban and rural.

He describer her as a woman of great integrity and principle, small in stature but with the heard of a lion.

She would, Cllr Bree said, be deeply missed . . . for her intelligence, wit and compassion, for her no-nonsense approach to life . . . and her deep appreciation and respect for those she represented.