Saturday 17 March 2018

'Ireland has lost a true gentleman' - Varadkar leads tributes to former TD

Leo Varadkar was among those who paid tribute to Peter Mathews Photo: Tony Gavin
Leo Varadkar was among those who paid tribute to Peter Mathews Photo: Tony Gavin
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Tributes from across the political spectrum have been paid to the late former TD Peter Mathews.

Mr Mathews (65) passed away in St James Hospital yesterday morning following a battle with oesophageal cancer.

He is survived by his wife Susan and four children.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny led the tributes to the ex-Dublin South TD, who previously served with Fine Gael before turning Independent.

Mr Kenny said Mr Mathews bore his illness with "courage and resilience", adding that he served his constituents with great energy.

"The economic crisis prompted him to get involved in politics and he had very strongly held views on how that crisis, particularly in the banking sector, should be addressed," he said.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said Ireland had lost "one of its true gentlemen", while Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes said Mr Mathews would be "sorely missed".

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin also paid tribute to Mr Mathews, who was first elected to the Dáil in 2011.

There was also condolences paid by his former constituency colleagues, deputy Josepha Madigan and Senator Neale Richmond.

A former accountant and banker, Mr Mathews tirelessly advocated for a write-down in Ireland's banking debt.

He was one of a number of Fine Gael TDs who lost the whip in 2013 in a row over the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

The ex-politician spent a short time with the 'Reform Alliance', which included TDs Lucinda Creighton and Billy Timmins. He opted against joining Renua and instead served as an Independent before losing his seat in 2016 in the newly formed Dublin-Rathdown constituency.

Irish Independent

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