Meeting adjourned as mark of respect
THE monthly meeting of Tralee Town Council, which was due to take place on Monday evening, was adjourned for a week as a mark of respect to former councillor John Blennerhassett.
Mr Blennerhassett from Ballinorig passed away last month at the age of 83 after a long illness. He served as a Fine Gael senator for almost 10 years and was also a long standing member of both Kerry County Council and Tralee Town Council.
The lifelong trade unionist and councillor lost his seat on Tralee Town Council in 1994 but won it back five years later as an independent candidate. He retired from politics ahead of the local elections in 2004.
On Monday night Mayor of Tralee Pat Hussey said that the scheduled meeting would be postponed for a week as a mark of respect to the council's former member.
The floor was opened to members who each delivered glowing tributes to their former colleague describing him as a gentleman with a roguish streak who fought tooth and nail for the good of Tralee and its people.
Labour Councillor Terry O'Brien said he had fond memories of working with John Blennerhassett in the chamber.
"He was a complete gentleman with a roguish streak. He was a genuine councillor who was very fond of Tralee," he said.
"There was no better man to throw a grenade into the middle of a debate in the chamber. He'd do it with a wink and sit back an watch what happened."
Fine Gael Councillor Mairead Fernane said she had always admired John Blennerhassett's dedication to trade unionism and his support of workers' rights.
"He would fight tooth and nail for workers and especially for people who worked in shops and I always admired him for that," she said.
Sinn Fein's Cllr Cathal Foley, who lived close to Mr Blennerhasset in Ballinorig, praised his community spirit.
"He always stood up for the common man. As a neighbour in Ballinorig he was great. He always kept an eye out for his neighbours," he said.
Town Clerk Michael Scannell described Mr Blennerhassett as a great political character and a dedicated councillor and trade unionist who leaves a great legacy in the town that was so close to his heart.
The meeting was brought to a close with a minutes' silence. Tralee Town Council's October monthly meeting will now take place next Monday.