Tuesday 27 September 2016

Independent TD Michael Lowry pays tribute to 'close personal friend' and 'first lieutenant' Willie Kennedy

Councillor after he was struck by a car on Monday

Ryan Nugent

Published 08/03/2016 | 21:32

Willie Kennedy
Willie Kennedy

Independent TD Michael Lowry described Willie Kennedy as his 'first lieutenant' in a tribute to the long-time Tipperary Councillor who was killed after being struck by a car on Monday.

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Mr Kennedy (64) had been attending a funeral on Monday night when he was struck by a car at around 8:30pm in Portlaoise.

He was treated at the scene and taken to Portlaoise General Hospital where he subsequently died.

The driver of the car, a man in his 50s, was uninjured in the collision.

Mr Kennedy was a stalwart on all of Lowry’s successful Dáil bids and was “an incredibly loyal political partner” to the Independent TD since they were both elected to Tipperary County Council in 1985.

Mr Lowry passed on his condolences to Mr Kennedy’s family, his wife, Beth, son, Ger and daughters Mairead and Elizabeth.

Michael Lowry. Photo: Maxwell Photography Limited/Courtpix
Michael Lowry. Photo: Maxwell Photography Limited/Courtpix

He told the Irish Independent he was “absolutely shattered” by the news.

“Willie was a close personal friend and a loyal political partner over all of my political career,” Mr Lowry said.

“He was enormously influential over all my time as an Independent Deputy in the Dáil,” he added.

Mr Kennedy played a particularly large role in Lowry’s latest successful Dáil bid, and is believed to have influenced the whole campaign.

This included the coordination of canvassers and areas across Mr Lowry’s Tipperary constituency.

“He was my first lieutenant, my right hand man and people rallied to Wille. Whenever he looked for assistance or support, he got it.

“He never needed a sat-nav, and knew every road, every side road and every boreen in the area,” Mr Lowry added.

Fellow Independent Cllr Michael O’Meara said Mr Kennedy was “the consummate politician” who lived and breathed Tipperary County Council.

“He was a great person to give advice, I always found he was the go to man if I ever had a problem in relation to any local authority issues - it was good and practical advice,” Mr O’Meara said.

“We would have been friends, but even when you were talking to Willie socially, the conversation always reverted back to council work - it was his life,” he added.

Mr Kennedy was said to have been a keen sports fan and was involved with the local GAA club, while he also did some farming in his time away from the county council.

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