Glowing tributes were paid to Michael John Shinnick, former Chief Scout of Scouting Ireland at his funeral in Glanworth, Co Cork earlier today.
Mr Shinnick is survived by his wife Marian and two daughters, Aoife and Emma. Both of his daughters spoke at his funeral mass today, with Aoife thanking the congregation for travelling to support the family - while her sister Emma chose to perform a poem.
“Thank you all for coming to here today to celebrate Dad’s life,” said Aoife.
“We know that many of you have travelled long distances to be here to support us at this difficult time.
“Dad was always the organiser and yesterday and today was no different. Being a true Scout he was always prepared.”
Mr Shinnick’s brother-in-law and former Waterford hurling manager Michael Ryan said that in death Michael John had “returned home.”
“Michael John has observed, he has learned, he has grown and he has loved,” said Ryan.
“Now he’s returned home. On behalf of each and every one of us, so long chief. Thanks for the memories. God bless."
Hundreds of mourners last night gathered to pay their respects at his removal. Mr Shinnick, who spoke about his illness in a public letter of farewell to the scouting community in March, leaves behind a legacy of hard work and dedication.
Following his election to the role of Chief Scout in 2008, membership of Scouting Ireland grew by almost 25%, and Mr Shinnick presided over numerous large-scale projects, sharing his commitment that the organisation should be a constructive and relevant force in society.
According to colleagues, Mr Shinnick took great personal pride when Scouting Ireland launched a youth employment programme, known as Operation Lelievlet, in Limerick to address the challenges faced by young people following the economic crisis.
In a statement, Scouting Ireland said: “It is with a sense of great loss and sadness that Scouting Ireland announces the death of our former Chief Scout.
“Scouting Ireland would like to offer its deepest sympathy to the Shinnick family at this sad news. We hope they can take some comfort in the knowledge that Michael John will be remembered fondly by so many, as the soft-spoken Chief Scout who was loved and respected by all who knew him.”
Mr Shinnick wrote an emotional farewell letter to Scouts in the weeks before he died where he praised the organisation and its ethos for giving him many years of happiness.