Development & Alumni Relations Office 

Denis Kearney BA 1962, died 4 August 2005

Denis died on August 4th at home in the loving care of his family. For nine months he had fought a courageous battle against serious illness with all the resilience and dignity that he exhibited in his personal and professional life.

 The number of well-wishers during his illness and mourners at his funeral bore eloquent testimony to his warmth of personality and breadth of interests.

Steeped in the love of literature since his university days, keenly interested in politics and history and a gifted footballer representing the Queen’s University of Belfast at Sigerson and combined universities level, Denis enjoyed nothing more than the stimulation of animated conversation, often to be seen among his friends with head inclined and finger raised in mock didactic fashion. Moments of quieter reflection were spent in the Linenhall library where he held membership for most of his life.

Denis came to the practice of Law after some years teaching and at a time of serious social unrest in Northern Ireland. He founded a highly regarded Civil Law practice which developed over the years into the practice now known as Kearney Sefton Solicitors. In acknowledgement of his measured judgement and professional reputation he was appointed a deputy district judge, a position he held for twenty years. His sense of social commitment saw him closely involved in initiatives such as Extern, which provides community-based services for vulnerable people, and The Northern Consensus Group, a cross-community think-tank and lobby group. He also served on The Probation Board for Northern Ireland. His contribution in these fields was duly acknowledged by both British and Irish governments.

Denis possessed one of the loveliest of all human qualities, the gift of conviviality, and he and his beloved wife Roisin kept an open and generous house where conversation, song and the company of friends flourished. Now for Roisin and their children Paula and Gavin, it will seem that the light has gone from their lives. As for his brothers and sisters and his numerous friends, their entire circle will be diminished and impoverished.

Some words of Patrick Kavanagh come to mind to the effect that the greatest sophistication in life is to return to one’s roots. In death Denis had done just that. He lies buried at Bryansford in the foothills of the majestic Mourne mountains and in the embrace of his beloved County Down.



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