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Publican an Irishman who loved people and the craic

Friends pay tribute to ‘a real character… everybody’s friend and nobody’s enemy’

06 September, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

AS the second youngest of 12 children, Martin Flynn was rooted in family values.

He moved to the UK from a small town in County Wexford, Ireland, as a 19-year-old in the 1980s to manage a hotel and then became a stalwart of the Irish community in north London.

Once he had settled himself in, Martin became a key point of contact for fellow countrymen who wanted to follow in his footsteps across the Irish Sea.

His brother John said: “He was a real character and great at a yarn. He loved his family, but he also created his own family in London.

“He was brilliant for the community. If somebody was looking to emigrate to London they would get in contact with the family. We would pass his details on to them and he would sort them out. They would contact Martin and by the time they were ready to go Martin would have them a flat and a job.”

John added: “He was an Irishman at heart. He lived the pub trade and he loved meeting people and getting the craic.”

Martin was a massive sports fan. His proudest moment was when Wexford won the All-Ireland Hurling Championship in 1996.

The long-standing publican managed several boozers around the capital, including Sal’s Bar in Neasden and Slatterys in Camden Road.

He took on the Royal Oak at the Elthorne estate in Upper Holloway about six years
ago and became an iconic figure in the community.

Tributes poured in from Royal Oak regulars after Martin died last month, aged 53, following a battle with cancer.

Gary Turnbull, who met Martin about two years ago at the pub, briefly lived with the Irishman when he was going through a difficult period.

“Four words sum him up: everybody’s friend, nobody’s enemy,” said Gary. “When I was ill he was there for me and when he was ill I did everything I could to help him.”

The London Wexford Association was a big part of Martin’s life. He spent many nights organising fundraisers and charity events.

Despite his declining health, he asked Gary to take him to the association’s meeting in earlier in the year so he could put his name forward to be chairman.

Martin’s niece Irene Butler helped care for him as his health declined.

She said: “Martin loved to chat and catching up with people and telling his stories. Everything ended on a joke.

“You could walk into the pub a stranger and walk out a best friend.”

Martin died on August 28

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