Paddy’s contribution to public service was recognised with the awarding of the Imperial Service Order in 1990. On his retirement he continued to give his time to the voluntary sector and spent many years helping the Northern Ireland Housing Association Charitable Trust.
On the formation of the Belfast Celtic Society in 2003, Paddy’s knowledge of the workings of charitable and voluntary organisations proved invaluable as he took on the role of the society’s secretary and treasurer. The Belfast Celtic Society will forever value the benefit of his wisdom. At Paddy’s funeral mass in St Comgall’s Church, Bangor, many hundreds of people from across the business and sporting community came to pay their respects to Paddy’s widow Moira, his sons Patrick, Justin, Rory and Michael, his sister Isobel and to the wider McIlroy family circle.
Michael, speaking for the whole family, paid tribute to his father for the love and protection that he had given them during his life time. “Daddy was never ashamed to say how much he loved mum and he was always so proud of us. While we were his sons, we were also four distinct people. His life long love of Celtic was also known to everybody. When we would be watching a game and the team would go into the Celtic huddle, he would always say to us to close our eyes and think of any of our family members who were away.”
“One of my best memories of dad was when we went to an Old Firm match which Celtic won 6-2. We were to meet him afterwards outside the ground and when we spotted him he was standing in the middle of the road with his Celtic scarf over his head. He was crying with delight. It wasn’t often than dad was lost for words. This time he was.” The Belfast Celtic family, too, has lost a dear friend. May he rest In peace.