This past November marked one year since the passing of Paddy Kearney, who died on the 23rd November 2018 at the age of 76. Softly spoken, Kearney’s gentle demeanour belied his strength of character that saw him serve as an executive member of the United Democratic Front, repeatedly ignoring the restrictions placed on South Africans by the apartheid government, and eventually resulting in his brief imprisonment in 1985. But the end of apartheid didn’t see the end of Kearney’s activism. Instead he became even more involved, giving decades of his life to the Diakonia Council of Churches, as well as countless other human rights and community upliftment organisations.
Kearney lived his life in the service of others, and it was in recognition of this that he was awarded the Bene Merenti Medal, one of the highest honours of the Catholic Church, just a few months before his passing. News of the unexpected death of Paddy Kearney saw an outpouring of tributes, evidence again of a life that touched countless individuals.
To honour the memory of the great Patrick Kearney, Raymond Perrier, Director of the Denis Hurley Centre, recently petitioned to have the walkway between Denis Hurley Street and Cathedral Road named “Paddy Kearney Way”. The new road sign was unveiled on the first anniversary of Kearney’s death. According to Perrier it’s fitting that the walkway connects the cathedral to the local mosque – Kearney spent his life promoting social cohesion, regardless of a person’s faith. Speaking of the newly named of Paddy Kearney Way, Raymond Perrier commented:
The pedestrian way runs alongside the Denis Hurley Centre and it is next to Denis Hurley Street – Paddy’s great mentor. It is also a very modest street and Paddy was known for his modesty”