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Taoiseach pays tribute to journalist Liam O'Neill

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Enda Kenny

Enda Kenny

Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

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TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has led tributes to the journalist Liam O'Neill who has died.

Mr O'Neill was a leading political journalist and commentator whose career spanned the terms of a dozen governments and seven Taoisigh. Mr Kenny said he was saddened by the news.

"Liam was a very astute political analyst and a very experienced journalist having written about most of the big political stories over the last number of decades. He was well respected by all politicians and the political writers who worked around Leinster House and will be missed," the Taoiseach said, offering his condolences to Liam's family.

Mr O'Neill was known and liked by everyone who worked at Leinster House during this 30 years there covering politics for the 'Irish Examiner'.

Irish Independent Editor Fionnán Sheahan said: "As a young reporter starting out covering politics, Liam was hugely encouraging to me and always willing to share his vast knowledge. A thorough gentleman, his integrity shone through in his coverage of politics for the 'Cork Examiner', the 'Examiner' and 'Irish Examiner'."

Extraordinary

A native of Wexford town, he trained with the 'Wexford People' newspaper before moving to the 'Irish Press' in Dublin in the late 1960s, and joined the then-'Cork Examiner' as political correspondent in 1970. His early years in political journalism were a baptism of fire as the Arms Crisis erupted.

Politicians of all parties attended his retirement function in October 2001. On that evening he reflected on the "extraordinary events" that occurred during his working life.

"They might not have been fun for you, the politicians, but for us these were extraordinary events," he told the attendance.

Taoiseach of the day, Bertie Ahern, led the tributes on that occasion. "Liam often gave us a lot of stick and criticism but he was always fair and decent," the then-Taoiseach said.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Irish Independent