Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick has paid tribute to ‘family man’ Des O’Malley, following his death yesterday aged 82. Mr O’Malley was elected as a TD for Limerick in 1968 and was appointed Minister for Justice during the Arms Crisis of 1970. He went on to found the Progressive Democrats in 1985, becoming its first leader.

Bishop Leahy said, “Limerick and Ireland have today lost a man and politician of immense courage and decency and a great family man into the bargain.My first thoughts and prayers at this moment are with his four daughters and two sons and wider family circle. Unfortunately, I did not have the pleasure of knowing Des O’Malley personally but the picture painted of him by those who knew him over the years, including priests of the diocese, was not just of a man and politician of unbreakable integrity but a devoted family man.

“He had a deep love for his late wife Pat, his children and grandchildren and it was clearly a shared love.  So, for all that he did in the political world, it’s essential too as we pay tribute to him that we acknowledge just what family meant to him.

“Politically, however, he will always be remembered for the deep sense of honour and honesty with which how approached public service. Des O’Malley was a man that would never stray from seeking to do the right thing nor be compromised.  That’s a very proud distinction that we can all take inspiration from.”

He continued, “Many tributes have and will be paid to him over the coming days, but the words courage and decency are already being echoed time and time again.  He was unflinching in how he stayed the course of his deeply held convictions.  His political life was clearly underlined by his integrity, something that was fashioned in his own family as he grew up here in Limerick.

“While he spent much time away from Limerick in later life, he was also very proud of his native city and county. He will be fondly remembered and deeply missed.”

ENDS