Pro-Life Hero Des Hanafin Laid to Rest


Des Hanafin, one of Ireland’s outstanding pro-life activists, has died. He was 86. Among his many achievements, he played a key role in the successful referendum campaigns of 1983 and 1985, to guarantee the right to life of the unborn, and to maintain the Constitutional prohibition on divorce.


Des Hanafin was born in Thurles, County Tipperary, in 1930. His father, Johnny, was a draper and newsagent who served for many years as a councillor in North Tipperary. Two years after his father’s death Des was elected for Fianna Fáil to North Tipperary County Council in 1955 and remained a councillor for the following 30 years.


He was elected to the Seanad in 1965 and was a member of the Upper House until 2002 with the exception of the 1993-1997 period when he lost his seat. He failed to get elected to the Dáil on two occasions, 1977 and 1981.


In addition to his political career, Mr Hanafin was a successful businessman, although his business career suffered for a period when he struggled with alcoholism, a subject on which he spoke about candidly.


In 1996, Mr Hanafin challenged the result of the second divorce referendum. Although his challenge was unsuccessful, the Supreme Court decided to allow his costs “in view of the importance of the case and the fact that Mr Hanafin had succeeded to a substantial extent”.


In 1988 he was honoured by Pope John Paul II who appointed him a Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great.


Des Hanafin is survived by his wife of almost sixty years, Mona, and children John and Mary.


Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.

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