It is with regret that we record the death of the prominent former politician William (Billy) Kenneally, Hillside Park, Dunmore Road, Waterford. Mr Kenneally, who passed away in Waterford Regional Hospital on Wednesday, was one of the most high profile and successful Fianna Fail politicians in Waterford and the South East region. He was also a successful businessman and, for many years, was associated with the Kenneally City Bus Company until it was sold to the Rapid Express Kavanagh Group.
Mr Kenneally was twice Mayor of Waterford City and was a former TD and Senator. He was for many years Chairman of the Fianna Fail Parliamentary Party during a period that spanned some of the party’s most turbulent years.
The Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, led the tributes to Mr Kenneally. Pointing out that Waterford and Fianna Fail had lost ‘a remarkable public servant’, Mr Cowen said the deceased had been regarded as an excellent Chairman of the parliamentary part.
“Billy lived through some of the most remarkable times in the history of this State and right to the end he remained as interested in politics and public life as ever. Billy was the son of another Fianna Fáil TD William Kenneally and I know he was extremely proud of his son Brendan’s own political achievements. I am sure Brendan will keep Billy’s many words of wisdom to the fore as he continues to serve the people of Waterford in the same dedicated fashion as his father. My thoughts and prayers go to Billy’s family, his wife Maureen, his children Brendan, Donal, Kevin, Patrick and Martin and all his other family and friends”, said An Taoiseach.
Martin Cullen TD, The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, martin Cullen, also expressed his sympathy on hearing of the death of Mr Kenneally. “Billy’s commitment to public service took him in a number of directions over his lifetime serving the community of Waterford as Mayor of the City and later at national level in both Dáil and Seanad Éireann with great distinction. He was dedicated to his constituents and to the Fianna Fáil Party and made an undoubted difference to a city he loved. He was a generous person with an underlying strength and sense of duty who always retained his capacity for hard work”, said Mr Cullen.
Mr Kenneally was son of William Kenneally Snr who was a TD for the Waterford Constituency from 1952 to 1961. The deceased was first elected to the Dail in 1965 and was returned by the electorate at every general election until he lost his seat in the 1982 February election which was one of three general elections in 18 months. He later served one short term as a Senator from 1982 but did not contest an Oireachtas seat again. His son, Brendan Kenneally TD, regained his father’s seat for Fianna Fail in 1989.
Mr Kenneally was first elected to the Waterford City Council in 1960 and remained a member for 25 years until 1985 as, in those days, a dual mandate was permitted and TDs and Senators could also serve on local authorities. He was Mayor of the City from 1976 to 1977 and from 1984 to 1985. He is survived by his wife Maureen; sons Brendan, Donal, Kevin, Patrick and Martin; brother Jackie; sister Kathleen; grandchildren, relatives and friends.
His remains will be removed from Tom Hennessy’s Funeral Home tonight (Friday) at 7pm to the Church of SS Joseph and Benildus, Newtown. Requiem Mass will be celebrated tomorrow (Saturday) at 12 noon after which interment will take place at St Mary’s Cemetery, Ballygunner.