There was sadness in the greater Louth area at the death of popular TD and Ceann Comhairle, Patrick Faulkner, at the age of 94
Leading the tributes was Leader of Fianna Fail, Micháel Martin, who described the former Ceann Comhairle as a “great gentleman” who made a “massive contribution to his constituency and our country.”
“I am saddened to learn of the death of Pádraig Faulkner. He was a proud Louth man and a great gentleman of Irish politics,” said Deputy Martin.
“Pádraig was a man of decency, of good humour and of integrity. He was a politician of great intelligence, ability and dedication. He held the distinction of serving in the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party under the first four leaders of our party.
“As a long-serving and efficient Minister, Pádraig Faulkner made an undoubted contribution to the social and economic development of Ireland in the second half of the twentieth century.
“He was a passionate minister for education who placed an emphasis on delivering more teachers and providing better school transport. He also made the particularly far-sighted decision to proceed with the DART network which has immensely benefitted our capital city for nearly three decades.
“The respect that Pádraig Faulkner was held in across all shades of political opinion in Leinster House was evident from his election as Ceann Comhairle in 1980. This was a job he performed with decorum and impartiality.
“Following his retirement, Pádraig remained active in his local Fianna Fáil organisation and it was always a pleasure to see him at party events where he was quick to offer an encouraging word and a broad smile.”
“He wrote a fantastic memoir of his time in politics which is indispensable to anyone wishing to understand the history of Fianna Fáil and modern Ireland, particularly in the Lemass and Lynch eras.
“Pádraig Faulkner was a shining example of all that is good in public service. He was will be sadly missed by his many friends and admirers,” concluded Deputy Martin.
Local TD Seamus Kirk described Mr Faulkner as an “iconic political figure” because of his “many” and varied achievements in a long political career.
“I wish to express my sincere sympathy to his wife Kitty, family Tom, Bartle, Pat and Mary and their spouses, sister Theresa Clare, nephews, nieces and grandchildren and wider family circle.
“A man of great integrity and powerful application to every task to be undertaken, he will have an honoured position in the role of Government Ministers and indeed in the Louth constituency for his diligent and steady application to the needs of the electorate.
“I had the privilege of serving with him from November 1982 to the General Election in 1987. His vast political experience, his prudent and sensible advice was always readily available to the members of the Parliamentary Party at that time. We always had a close working relationship as Public Representatives in Louth. His wise counsel will unfortunately no longer be available to us.