Thursday 22 August 2019

Oliver Tully was a great political figure who could see the bigger picture

By Francis Carroll

A leader, a mentor and a father figure, were some of the words used by his colleagues on Louth county council to describe Oliver Tully.

At the start of the July meeting of the local authority on Monday a minute's silence was observed by members and staff in tribute to the Fine Gael representative who passed away suddenly last week.

Party colleague Cllr Maria Doyle spoke of a sad and upsetting few days, adding it was difficult to attend the meeting knowing he wouldn't be with them.

'Oliver was an integral part of the council since first elected in 1991. He was hard-working and diligent and had a passion for the environment.

'He was a mentor and friend to me. Co. Louth will miss him,' Cllr Doyle said.

Cllr John McGahon recalled that Oliver Tully treated him like an equal from day one, which meant a lot. 'His family was first and foremost. It will be difficult to fill the huge gap he has left.'

Cllr Colm Markey noted he was so proud of the place he came from. His legacy is enormous. 'He was a father figure to us all. Everybody else came first.'

Cllr Joanna Byrne described Oliver as strong in stature, humble in nature.

'The attendance at his funeral was testament to his career, character and family.'

She added he fought relentlessly for solutions, and said his Fine Gael colleagues were in their thoughts.

Cllr Tully was Cllr Tom Cunningham's technical drawing teacher. 'He helped me get through my Leaving Cert, and was a great supporter of the Lifeboats.'

Cllr Kevin Callan didn't know what they would do without Oliver, a consummate professional; while Cllr Hugh Conlon said he had a very strong sense of place and community.

'He knew how to represent people. He was a remarkable councillor.'

Cllr Paddy McQuillan said he couldn't believe the list of Oliver Tully's achievements read out at the funeral Mass. 'He saw the person before the party.'

Cllr Paul Bell said the south Louth-based representative was a true public servant 'who knew the business of public service.'

'He was easy to deal with and had a set of principles which were unshakeable.'

Cllr Marianne Butler said she regarded Oliver as a friend. He will be a huge loss to his family, the council and the LMETB. 'He was a calm voice of reason,' she pointed out.

Cllr Emma Coffey noted Oliver and his wife Eileen were such a strong couple. 'As an educator, he had a great reputation. He took me under his wing. He was Fine Gael through and through, but was a guiding hand for anyone who came into the chamber.'

Cllr Jim Tenanty commented that Oliver was so well-liked. He was always well-dressed and kept himself well. 'He was like a father figure to me.'

Cllr Conor Keelan said Oliver Tully's departure leaves a great void in the council chamber, but they shared memories which he will treasure.

Chief executive of Louth county council Joan Martin said it was very sad to gather without Oliver, who she and the staff regarded as a colleague as well as a councillor.

His daughter Amy works in Louth county council, she went on.

'He was very passionate about his area and the environment, and was a pleasure to deal with.'

The CEO added he was very proud when a meeting of the county council took place at Co. Louth Golf Club in Baltray.

Cllr James Byrne said Oliver Tully was always held in the highest regard.

Chairman Cllr Liam Reilly said he represented his area so well. 'He guided me as a councillor. He transcended politics and saw the bigger picture.'

Drogheda Independent