« BackDeath of former Kerry South TD and minister of State, John O’Leary

The death has taken place of the former Kerry South TD and minister of State, John O’Leary.

Photo: Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com

Mr O’Leary, who was 82 years of age, served as a Fianna Fáil TD for Kerry South between 1966 and 1997.

John O’Leary was born in 1933 in Dunrine in the parish of Kilcummin.

He worked in a number of roles in Kerry County Council and was a senior planning official when he was approached by Fianna Fáil to contest the 1966 by-election in Kerry South.

The vacancy created by the death of Honor Mary Crowley was Jack Lynch’s first by-election as Taoiseach.

John O’Leary was elected beating fellow candidates, Fine Gael’s Michael Begley and Labour’s Michael Moynihan.

In 1977, Jack Lynch appointed O’Leary to the position of Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, where he served under Sylvie Barrett.

John O’Leary did not always vote against Charles Haughey in the various leadership heaves, but he was seen as an opponent of Haughey, who sacked him as a junior minister in 1979.

At constituency level however, O’Leary was incredibly successful, topping the poll in eight of the ten general elections he contested.

He retired at the 1997 general election and his son Brian was unsuccessful in retaining the seat for the party at that election.

John O’Leary, who published his memoirs earlier this year, holds the distinction of being the longest ever serving TD for Kerry South.

He was pre-deceased by his wife, Judy in 1989 and is survived by seven sons and ten grandchildren.