Fr. Mícheál MacGréil, SJ.

Passing of Mayo sociologist and campaigner Fr. Micheál MacGréil mourned

THERE is huge sadness in Mayo and across the country this morning following the passing of Fr. Mícheál MacGréil, SJ, Westport.

A renowned sociologist and campaigner, Fr. Micheál had a massive impact on so many people's lives, always fighting for the disadvantaged.

Another cause close to his heart was the Máméan pilgrimage, which he revived, and he also put his expertise to good use in helping develop tourism in Westport through major surveys over the years.

On a sad morning for the parish, where he was a friend to all, St. Mary's Church in Westport paid tribute to him: 'He was a unique individual, a great and devoted priest, an activist and voice for the marginalised and underprivileged as well as being a proud Mayo and Westport man. He will be greatly missed.

'Although in his 93rd year he lived life to the full and to the end. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.'

The Tuam Archdiocese has also paid tribute following his death early this morning: 'A Jesuit, Fr. Mícheál remained loyal to his home diocese. He was such a part of the life of this diocese and of its priests.

'As a lecturer in sociology in Maynooth University, he showed particular kindness to the seminarians of the archdiocese. With annual outings to his home in Loughloon for bacon and cabbage and taking time with the students in Maynooth, his kindness will never be forgotten.'

Westport Councillor Brendan Mulroy also paid tribute to his friend, saying it was a sad morning for the island of Ireland.

He said: “A lot of tributes will be paid to Fr. Micheál in the coming days and rightly so but if I can reflect on the impact Fr. Micheál has made on people's lives, his compassion, empathy and love for people and communities was there in abundance. A very measured man who had lived life and was happy to pass on any advice and offer any support to anyone who was going through a tough time.

“Fr. Micheál, we had some laughs along the way and you were a true friend in every sense of the word. Westport, Mayo and Ireland were blessed to have you in our midst.”