Trinity College Dublin has announced it has named a chair in memory of Dublin priest Fr Tony Coote.

At his funeral yesterday, Fr Coote was described by a contemporary as a beacon of light and hope to the sick and especially to those with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

Trinity College announced that it has chosen Dr Bahman Nassereloslami as the first Fr Tony Coote Assistant Professor in MND Research.  

In a statement, Trinity said that its MND team was mourning the priest's death last Wednesday from the disease.

But it added that his name and legacy would live on with the appointment of Dr Nassereloslami who had already made breakthrough discoveries in brainwave signalling in MND.

The college said his work would help to drive the quest for new and more effective treatments.

The Dublin priest was diagnosed with MND by Professor Orla Hardiman, Professor of Neurology at TCD in March 2018.

The statement underlined that, despite his rapidly evolving disability, the administrator of two parishes in Mount Merrion and Kilmacud had decided to take direct action to raise funds for MND research and care.  

It quoted a favourite saying of the late priest: "Unless there's research, there will be no hope for people in the future."

Fourteen months ago, just four months after his diagnosis, Fr Coote and hundreds of supporters - including Professor Hardiman and her team - set off on the first leg of a 28-stage walk from Letterkenny in Co Donegal to Ballydehob in Co Cork.

The month-long charity walk raised over €250,000 for MND research at Trinity.

Watch RTÉ's Walking the Walk here

Professor Hardiman said Fr Coote would be sadly missed.

"He touched so many lives in the short time that we knew him. His commitment to raise awareness about MND was because he understood that this is not an untreatable disease, but an underfunded one," she said.

"And as we seek to find new treatments for this tragic condition, we will draw inspiration from his legacy, and redouble our efforts on behalf of everybody affected by the disease," she concluded.

Earlier, a large congregation at his funeral mass heard a fellow priest in the Archdiocese of Dublin recall that his friend had embraced the disease with great resilience, faith and hope and, above all, humility and generosity "two values that set him apart".

In his homily, Fr John Kelly, who is the Director of Pastoral Care at Tallaght University Hospital, praised the deceased's exceptional depth of humanity, saying it was required "to mastermind the 2018 pilgrimage walk that engaged the country."

"(It) took a man of great leadership ability, a man with a vision who was articulate and strategic, a motivated priest. But as a driven man he could also be stubborn, impulsive and inpatient," Fr Kelly said.

"However," he told the congregation at the Church of St Therese in Mount Merrion, "his intention was to 'form a community for all'. And how many people did he connect here through their friendship with him?," he asked.

"He has been an inspiration, a beacon of light and hope to those who are sick and especially those with MND.

"On this pilgrimage walk (in July 2018) - what became his road to Golgotha - Tony's sense of fun and humour was infectious and he would often say that laughter was the only thing that made him feel normal," Fr Kelly said.

He recalled that his contemporary from seminary days had been "a pilgrimage man" and had always travelled with people "especially the youth from Ballymun (where he had been chaplain in the Boys' Comprehensive School), UCD (where he had subsequently been chaplain), Mount Merrion and beyond".

The chief mourners were Fr Coote's mother Patricia and his brothers David, Kieran and Pat and sisters-in-law Nicky and Michelle. His father, Patrick predeceased him.

Afterwards, Fr Coote was buried at a private ceremony.