Veteran politician PJ Bradley laid to rest

March 6, 2017

Hundreds of mourners packed into St.Mary’s Church in Burren for the funeral of former SDLP South Down MLA PJ Bradley on Friday. The veteran politician passed away on Wednesday at Southern Area Hospice after a short illness.

The father-of-eight was described by parish priest, Fr Charles Byrne, as a man who made a “valuable contribution to improving relations across the political divide”and who actively made things happen.

The 76-year-old enjoyed a lengthy career, spanning three decades. The former estate agent and Burren native was an MLA from 1998 until 2011 and served on Newry and Mourne District council for 24 years. He represented the SDLP in South Down and was the party spokesman on agriculture.  His daughter, Sinead, was elected as an MLA in South Down last year and was elected for South Down on the third count in last Thursday’s Assembly Election.

Among the mourners paying their respects were former SDLP deputy first minister Seamus Mallon, three former party leaders, Mark Durkan, Margaret Ritchie and Alasdair McDonnell and other SDLP members including Carmel Hanna, Sean Farren and Frank Feely.

Mr Bradley was also a committed Gael who was a member of Burren GAC and an avid Down GAA supporter.   Prominent GAA representatives were also present on Friday, including Ulster GAA secretary Brian McAvoy and former Armagh GAA player Jarlath Burns.

The former estate agent’s tireless work in local causes was remembered during requiem Mass, particularly his involvement in initiating the Narrow Water Bridge project.

“Many stories have been told in recent days of the good work PJ did quietly for many people. The Narrow Water bridge project was close to his heart and one that he promoted over the years. Hopefully some day it will come to fruition,” said Fr Byrne.

“PJ made many friends in America through his role in politics and he had the honour of meeting several US presidents. He was held in high regard by all sections of the political divide both here in the north and in the south of Ireland.”

Mourners heard Mr Bradley would be remembered as “a husband, father, grandfather, politician and friend to many” and a man who “worked for the good of this community,”

“This was PJ, a proud Burren man, in his own words ‘Burren is the place on earth that is nearest and dearest to me’.”