Local tributes to former Tipperary North TD John Ryan, who died last week, were led by local Junior Minister for Transport Alan Kelly, who said it was with great sadness that he heard of the passing of his predecessor and friend.
“He was a giant of politics in Tipperary. He was one of the hardest working TDs ever to enter Dáil Éireann. He would work for anyone and never took political allegiance into consideration. If he could help you he would leave no stone unturned. He was trusted and revered in a way you rarely see, and news of his death will bring great sadness to many families especially in his hometown of Nenagh,” he said.
Deputy Kelly said the late Mr Ryan had devoted all his working life to promoting social justice and a fairer society locally and nationally.
He entered politics as a town councillor before being elected to the North Tipperary county council before being elected to the Dail in 1973. He also served in Seanad Eireann. Mr Ryan was elected chair of the former Nenagh Urban District Council on six occasions, 1961/62, 1968/69, 1975/76. 1979/80, 1988/89 and 1997/98.
The Junior Minister said: “On a personal level, he was an inspiration to me and one of the main reasons I decided to enter politics. I visited him a number of times in the recent past and he was always friendly and generous with his time even though his health wasn’t always very good.”
He said Mr Ryan was was “absolutely dedicated to his family. My thoughts are with his wife Ina and children Gerry, Diane and Paula.”
Fine Gael TD Noel Coonan, who served on North Tipperary County Council with Mr Ryan, said he was a “proud Nenagh man who strongly and energetically represented his constituents. People hold John in great respect and will continue to do so for many years to come.”
On his own behalf and on behalf of the North Tipperary Fine Gael organisation, Deputy Coonan expressed sympathies to John’s family.
Fellow North Tipperary TD Michael Lowry also extended his sympathy to Mr Ryan’s wife and family and said: “I had the privilege to work alongside John Ryan as a public representative. John was always friendly, polite and modest. He was outspoken and tenacious in his defence of the entitlements of the under privileged and injustice of any kind. He was a formidable and strong political operator but always fair and generous of spirit. In North Tipperary he had remarkable popularity and support which extended across all sectors of the community. John was a good and decent man and a pleasure to work with.”