Seamus Blaney: Former Ballycastle councillor and GAA stalwart
SEAMUS 'Deaky' Blaney was a former chairman of Moyle District Council who made an enormous contribution to community life in his native Ballycastle.
He is also fondly remembered as one of the great characters of McQuillan's GAA club which he served faithfully for decades.
Born in 1943, he was one of nine children of Paddy and Mary Blaney, who was left to rear the large family alone following the death of her husband when Seamus was just six.
After school he trained as a painter and decorator and spent time working in London and Scotland before returning home and marrying Cushendall woman Kathleen Murphy.
They would have two children, Patrick and Seamus Óg, and Seamus relished the precious time spent in the company of his family.
He had always had an interest in politics and its power to lift communities and was a canvasser for Ballintoy councillor James McShane.
Following his death, he decided to enter elected politics himself and secured election to Moyle District Council as an independent candidate in 1993.
'Deaky' – the origins of the nickname are uncertain but may have been inspired by a character from a Western movie – went on to top the poll at the next election.
He continued to help constituents with housing and many other matters for two decades until his retirement with the council's amalgamation into Causeway Coast and Glens in 2015.
Seamus was particularly proud of the term he served as council chairman in 2006/07 and his work with the Lammas Fair, Ballycastle Credit Union and Moyle Twinning Association, building lasting friendships during trips to France and Ballinasloe.
Having hurled a little in his youth, he went on to serve McQuillan's GAC in a variety of capacities and is warmly remembered there for his generosity and wit.
"If he wasn't doing traffic warden at the pitch, he was entertaining at our Scór nights. Deaky was involved in club life in many ways over the decades including his roles as club secretary, treasurer and registrar," it said.
"He was involved with various teams, was a big hit on stage in our club drama productions & 'Stars in Your Eyes' events, and of course he always loved a good road trip to the south with his companions for the matches, no matter who was playing.
"He had a great flair for words and we will cherish the poems and songs he wrote over the years for our championship teams. Deaky was always willing to get stuck in and volunteer, fundraising and doing whatever needed done around the club. He gave so much of his time to club life."
A well-read man with a keen interest in Irish history, Seamus continued to be a familiar face around his beloved Ballycastle in recent years until confined to home by ill health.
Seamus Blaney died aged 79 on June 24 and his funeral took place at St Patrick's and St Brigid's Church in Ballycastle on Monday.
He is survived by beloved wife, sons, daughters-in-law, grandchild and siblings Annie, Harry and Lily and family circle.