Taoiseach Simon Harris leads tributes following death of former Cork TD Bernard Allen

Mr Allen (79) served as a Minister of State and as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee

Photograph;David Sleator - Staff Date;18th December 2008 Bernard Allen TD arriving at Leinster House yesterday.

Taoiseach Simon Harris has led tributes to former Fine Gael Minister of State and TD Bernard Allen who has died in his native Cork at the age of 79.

“Bernard was a pillar of his community, whose dedication and loyalty to the people he served were unmatched. His career as a TD, which began in 1981 and spanned over 30 years, was marked by an unwavering commitment to addressing the concerns and needs of his constituents,” said Mr Harris.

“Bernard was a man with endless reserves of wisdom and wit, who knew the perfect time to deploy the right amount of either. He was a beloved colleague in Fine Gael and beyond, a proud Corkman and a good friend so it was with great sadness that I learned of his death.”

Extending his sympathy to Mr Allen’s wife, Marie, and his daughters Lorraine, Audrey and Deirdre, Mr Harris noted that Mr Allen had served as Lord of Mayor of Cork, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee and as a Minister of State.


Mr Allen, who was a TD for Cork North Central for 30 years, served as Minister of State for Education with a special responsibility for Sport and as Minister of State for the Environment during the Rainbow Coalition under Taoiseach John Bruton between 1994 and 1997.

A native of Blarney Street on Cork’s northside, Mr Allen’s first foray into politics was in 1979 when he ran for Fine Gael in that year’s local elections and was elected to Cork Corporation. Seven years later, he became Lord Mayor of Cork.

By then he was also a TD for Cork North Central, having won a seat for Fine Gael in 1981 and he was re-elected over the next eight general elections until his retirement in 2011 when he stood down from public office at the age of 66.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny paid tribute to him at the time, thanking him for his “exemplary public services over many years” which in addition to seeing him serve as Minister of State also saw him serve as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee from 2007 to 2011.

Among those joining with Taoiseach Mr Harris in paying tribute to the late Mr Allen was Minister for State and current Cork North Central TD Colm Burke who described his predecessor as “a great friend, astute adviser and wonderful mentor”.

“Cork has lost a most accomplished public representative whose main focus and priority in all of his political career was to look after the interests of his constituents in Cork North Central. Bernard was a true advocate for all the people he represented,” said Mr Burke.

“He was pivotal in the development of lasting and sustainable sporting infrastructure in Cork City and served on the board of Sport Ireland for many years. Additionally, he played an important role in the creation of Munster Technological University by chairing the committee charged with its creation.”

Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann Senator Jerry Buttimer, from Bishopstown in Cork, also paid tribute to Mr Allen whom he knew well, describing his death as a sad day not just for his wife and daughters but also for the people of Cork.

“It’s very sad news – Bernard was a wonderful friend, a great mentor and a brilliant champion for Cork – he was a politician with conviction who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and did a lot of great work in his political life – my sympathies go out to Marie and his daughters,” he said.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times