Ex-Labour TD Michael Bell dies


Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has lead tributes to former Labour TD Michael Bell, who died today.

Mr Bell (74) died today in the Mater Private hospital. He was first elected to the Dáil in 1982 and held onto what was always a secure Labour seat until 2002.

Labour’s Gerald Nash reclaimed the seat for the party in this year’s general election.

Mr Gilmore expressed his sadness at the death. “Michael Bell was not just a mentor. He was also a colleague and a friend," he said, adding that Mr Bell played a key role in Labour regaining the seat in Louth. “A political animal right to the end, Michael was at the election count, offering his advice and analysis to campaigners and journalists, and I know that Gerald’s election to Dáil Éireann gave him immense personal satisfaction,” he said.

Mr Nash said Mr Bell had a huge impact on the constituency. “He was a man of enormous integrity and decency and had an innate sense of fairness and a deep commitment to the vulnerable in society,” he said.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny extended sympathy on behalf of the Government and the Fine Gael Party to Mr Bell's family.

"I served for many years with Michael in the Dáil and I know him to have been a politician who worked tirelessly on behalf of his constituents.

"My sympathies go to his children, Linda, Pamela, Paula and Thomas, his family and friends, and to Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and the Labour Party."

Mr Bell was a former chairman of the Labour parliamentary party and also chaired a number of Oireachtas and was party spokesman on social welfare, industry and commerce, justice and social welfare.

He was a member of the Council of Europe in 1993. He also sat on Louth County Council and Drogheda Corporation and was Mayor of Drogheda from 1984 to 1985.