Thursday 16 August 2018

Member of 'Gang of 22' Sean Byrne dies

Sean Byrne opposed Charles Haughey’s leadership
Sean Byrne opposed Charles Haughey’s leadership
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The death has been announced of former Tipperary TD Sean Byrne, who was part of the Fianna Fáil 'Gang of 22'.

Mr Byrne served as a TD from 1982 until 1987 before becoming a senator until 1997.

He was among a group of TDs who opposed the leadership of Charlie Haughey in the early 1980s.

He backed Dessie O'Malley when he challenged Mr Haughey's position in 1983.

A vote at the parliamentary party resulted in a 55 to 22 win for the incumbent and left a major split in the party.

The so-called 'Gang of 22' was largely isolated during the late Taoiseach's tenure.

However, while Dessie O'Malley and others including Mary Harney left to from the Progressive Democrats, Mr Byrne stayed in the party.

Last night Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin lead the tributes to the 81-year-old from Cahir, Co Tipperary, and expressed his deepest sympathy to the Byrne family.

"Sean was a proud Tipperary man who served the constituency of South Tipperary, first as a member of the County Council, as a TD and latterly as a member of Seanad Éireann, with great distinction," said Mr Martin.

"During my first number of years in Dáil Éireann, Sean was a very affable and supportive colleague.

"In whatever role he undertook, Sean always gave it his all, especially when defending and promoting the interests of his county."

Mr Martin said the Fianna Fáil organisation had lost "a loyal and valued member and supporter".

He extended condolences to Mr Byrne's children, Miriam, Bernie, Claire, Olive and Seanie, and to his extended family at this sad time.

Mr Byrne's remains will repose at his family home in Tubrid tomorrow from 4pm to 8pm.

His funeral Mass will take place on Thursday at 11.30am in St John the Baptist Church, Duhill, with burial afterwards at Ballylooby Cemetery.

Irish Independent

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