Denis McGonagle is laid to rest in Carn

The late, former Donegal County Councillor Denis McGonagle.
The late, former Donegal County Councillor Denis McGonagle.

Hundreds of mourners bade farewell to former Donegal County Councillor Denis McGonagle on Wednesday morning as he was laid to rest in Carndonagh.

Mr. McGonagle, a father-of-three and former Fianna Fail Councillor for Inishowen with Donegal County Council passed away on Monday at the age of 77.

His Requiem Mass was celebrated by his brother Fr. Jim McGonagle at the Sacred Heart Church in his hometown and concelebrated by a number of priests from across the Diocese.

Fr. McGonagle described his brother as a man devoted to his family and a hardworker who had long dreamed of a life in politics.

He said he had “enjoyed the ups and downs of political life” and made many friends, both in his role as a county councillor and in his work down through the years.

Fr. McGonagle told how Denis had been educated in St. Patrick’s Boys’ School in Carndonagh and St. Columb’s College in Derry. He later joined a seminary but ultimately decided that priesthood wasn’t for him.

He went on to work in a family business in Clonmany which was a grocers, drapers and hardware store before he met his wife, Mary-Jo.

He also worked as a sales rep in a number of businesses, including McColgan’s in Buncrana and mourners heard how his work was “very important to him.”

Fr. McGonagle added that the work his brother undertook throughout his life and the interaction he had with people stood him in good stead for when he was elected to Donegal County Council.

He said: “He always harboured this wish to go into politics. I don’t know why but it was a dream he had.

“ I’d say his interaction with people in the shop in Clonmany and meeting people out in his rounds gave him a good platform to run for the county council.

“When he did, he was elected, he lost an election and was elected again. He enjoyed the ups and downs of political life and made many friends.”

Fr. McGonagle added that his brother had “many a story to tell about those days.”

Fr. McGonagle said the main love in Denis’ life was his family and he and his wife were “blessed” with three children, Siobhan, Denise and Hugh and 12 grandchildren, who “meant so much to him.”

He added how the former County Councillor was a former reader at Mass and he also had many other interests including cards.

The family thanked the local community for their help over the past few days and said they were “greatly consoled” by the many tributes which have been paid to him in the days since his death.