Former Fine Gael minister Fergus O’Brien dies aged 86

Politician held Dáil seat in Dublin South East for best part of two decades and served as Lord Mayor

A 1985 file photograph of former Fine Gael minister and Lord Mayor of Dublin Fergus O’Brien (left), who has died aged 86, with former minister Alan Shatter. Photograph: Pat Langan/The Irish Times.

A 1985 file photograph of former Fine Gael minister and Lord Mayor of Dublin Fergus O’Brien (left), who has died aged 86, with former minister Alan Shatter. Photograph: Pat Langan/The Irish Times.

 

Tributes have been paid to former minister and Lord Mayor of Dublin Fergus O’Brien, who has died aged 86.

Mr O’Brien was elected to the Dáil as a Fine Gael TD for Dublin South East in 1973 and, apart from a short interlude in 1982, he held his seat until he retired from politics in 1992.

Mr O’Brien twice served as chief whip and was also minister of state at the Department of the Environment during Garret FitzGerald’s governments in the 1980s.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it was with great sadness that he had learned of the death of his former colleague.

“Fergus was a great mentor to me when I first entered Dáil Éireann and was a very determined and hard-working politician. He was very proud to serve the people of south east and south central Dublin for almost 20 years.”

Proud Dubliner

Mr Kenny said Mr O’Brien was a very proud Dubliner and was honoured to be elected Lord Mayor in 1980.

“He was a quintessential Dubliner, he loved everything about his city, he loved his people, particularly working class people and took great pleasure in working with them to sort out many problems. He was an example to all, with a daily swim at the Half Moon club and a daily walk for many years.”

Former taoiseach John Bruton said he was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Mr O’Brien, who he called a great friend.

“He had a distinguished career in politics, winning friends for his direct approach, in all parts of the political spectrum. He was never silent when he felt the issues at stake were important. He was someone to whom I turned for advice many times,” said Mr Bruton, who added that Mr O’Brien had contributed to the development of what was to become the IFSC, in Dublin’s then semi derelict, dockland quarter.

“I saw him during his illness and was struck by his positive attitude and his continuing interest in others, in his faith, and in the country to which he had given such great service.”

Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr expressed his regret at the death of Mr O’Brien.

“As Lord Mayor, I wish to offer my and Dublin City Council’s condolences to Fergus’s wife Peggy, their family, friends and colleagues. Fergus served Dublin City with distinction both as a Councillor and as Lord Mayor. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time” he said.