Kieran Molloy.

Funeral of former Athlone councillor and Collinstown native Kieran Molloy takes place this morning

Collinstown native Kieran Molloy, who became one of Athlone's most experienced public representatives, serving as a Fianna Fáil councillor in the town for more than a quarter of a century, will be laid to rest following a funeral this morning morning.

His passing, on Monday, prompted warm tributes from political colleagues, former constituents, and friends.

Athlone councillor Aengus O'Rourke described him as "a wonderful friend and mentor" who was "extremely dedicated to his role as a public representative, and was respected right across the county and beyond."

Minister of State Robert Troy, meanwhile, was "deeply saddened" by the news, and said Kieran had been "a strong advocate for those who needed a voice the most" and "someone who served the people of Athlone and Westmeath with great dedication, commitment and passion."

Kieran, of The Courtyard, The Quays, and formerly Connolly St, Athlone, is sadly missed by loving wife Anne, daughters Siobhan, Fiona and Ciara, sons-in-law Cathal and Brian, adoring grandsons Nakori, Jacj and Micah, brother Brendan, sisters Sr Cecilia (Maura) and Ita, relatives and friends.

A former worker with the ESB, he was originally from Collinstown in North Westmeath before settling in urban Athlone. Politically, he was a relentless campaigner for improvements to the town, particularly its west side.

The development of adult education services was one of his priorities, and he took on roles with voluntary organisations such as Athlone Lions Club, Athlone Youth Council, and the Battery Heights Regeneration Group.

Kieran's family was steeped in Fianna Fáil; his father Paddy Molloy from Collinstown was one of the party's founding members.

After narrowly missing out on a council seat in his first election campaign in 1985, he was co-opted onto what was then the Athlone District Council in 1987, taking the seat that had been held by Mary O'Rourke until she became Minister for Education.

He went on to be elected to Westmeath County Council in 1991, and retained his seat on the county council until 2009.

His service on Athlone Town Council was continuous from 1987 to 2014, and in February of 2013 the party organisation held a celebration in his honour to mark his 25 years in public life.

The gathering, held in Athlone's Shamrock Lodge, saw a number of tributes being paid to his public service, including from a special guest on the night, the Fianna Fáil leader and now-Taoiseach, Micheál Martin.

"One thing Kieran has is the capacity to get things done, and he is associated with many great projects, like the art gallery, the castle, and the west side of Athlone," said Mr Martin at the time.

His funeral Mass will take place later this morning in St Peter and Paul's Church at 11am, followed by burial in Kiltoom Cemetery.

May he rest in peace.