Tributes are being paid to the former Kerry South TD and minister of State, John O’Leary who died this morning.
Mr O’Leary, who was 82, was a junior minister in the late 1970s and served as a deputy for Kerry South for 31 years.
First elected at a seminal by-election in Kerry South in December 1966, John O’Leary held his Dáil seat without a breach until his retirement in 1997.
Jack Lynch appointed him a minister of State in 1977 but he returned to the backbenches under Charles Haughey, who he opposed in the Fianna Fáil leadership election of 1979.
John O’Leary was also a long-serving county councillor, a post in which he was succeeded by his son Brian.
Independent deputy, Tom Fleming, said John O’Leary worked relentlessly for his constituents and was a tactful and accessible politician.
Deputy Michael Healy-Rae said his father, Jackie worked on many difficult campaigns with John O’Leary:
Senator Mark Daly of Fianna Fáil said John O’Leary’s political legacy is a positive one: