Tributes have been paid to former Longford Fianna Fáil TD Peter Kelly who passed away peacefully on Wednesday night after a short battle with illness.
Remembered as a “man of great decency”, Mr Kelly was a TD for almost a decade. He is also the last TD from the county of Longford to have represented the county’s constituency in Dublin.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin expressed his sadness following Mr Kelly’s death.
“Peter truly was a great character and loved being a TD,” Mr Martin said. “He was a proud Longford man and a man of great decency, he was a ‘people’s person’.”
First elected to the Dáil in 2002, Kelly won re-election to Leinster House as a TD for Longford-Westmeath in 2007.
He previously served as a public representative on Longford County and Town Councils from 1985.
Mr Martin also recalled how Mr Kelly “regaled and entertained us all with many witty stories over the years.”
He said he never stopped working for the Fianna Fáil Party, even in the last few years when he battled with illness.
Mr Martin said their sympathies and thoughts go to Mr Kelly’s wife Maura and their children, Emily, Joseph and Peter.
Cllr Joe Flaherty, who will contest the next general election for Fianna Fáil in the Longford-Westmeath constituency, remembered Peter Kelly as a “colossus of local life” and a man who lived for his family and Longford.
“I was extremely fortunate to have known and worked with Peter for many years. There wasn’t a man with a bigger heart or a man more committed to the Longford cause,” Mr Flaherty said.
The Kelly family have been in business in Longford town since 1905 when his grandfather, Joe Kelly, opened a hardware and general merchants business on Main Street.
In later years, Peter Kelly developed the iconic Kelly’s lounge bar there and it wrote a large chapter in Longford’s social history. The family sold the bar in 2001 to facilitate the expansion and refurbishment of the adjoining courthouse.
“On a personal level I have lost a great friend and mentor. Peter was truly a larger than life personality and it is the end of era for Longford,” Mr Flaherty added.