Monday 19 March 2018

Tributes to former Fine Gael TD who helped found Peace Park

Paddy Harte, ‘a firm advocate for justice’. Photo: Tom Burke
Paddy Harte, ‘a firm advocate for justice’. Photo: Tom Burke
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Former Fine Gael TD and minister Paddy Harte has been remembered for his dedication to public life and his work as a peacemaker.

Tributes have been paid to father-of-nine Mr Harte, who has passed away aged 86.

Serving as junior minister for posts and telegraphs in the 1980s, he gained prominence for his promotion of peace in Ireland and his work to mark the sacrifice made by Irish soldiers in World War I.

He was the co-founder - along with the late former loyalist leader Glenn Barr - of the Island of Ireland Peace Park in Messines, Belgium.

The pair were jointly named European of the Year 1998, and President Mary McAleese and Queen Elizabeth attended the opening of the park.

A TD between 1961 and 1997, Mr Harte is the father of Jimmy Harte, a former Labour Party senator.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "At very difficult and divisive times during the Troubles, Paddy was a steadfast opponent of violence and he consistently sought to reconcile the communities from both traditions on this island."

Tánaiste Simon Coveney offered his "deepest sympathies" to Mr Harte's wife Rosaleen and their family.

He said Mr Harte was a "man of principle" who was "a consistent advocate" for reconciling the different traditions in Ireland.

Mr Coveney suggested that the Peace Park would be Mr Harte's "most enduring legacy".

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said Mr Harte had left a lasting mark on Irish politics, including as a "builder of bridges" who engaged with all sides of the conflict in the North.

Donegal TD Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher said Mr Harte was a "committed politician, a firm advocate for justice and fairness, and true Donegal man through and through".

Irish Independent

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