Obituary: PJ Bradley

Dedicated SDLP local representative and MLA

 

PJ Bradley, who has died in his 77th year, was a dedicated local representative as an SDLP member of Newry and Mourne District Council for 24 years, then as an SDLP member of the Northern Assembly, representing South Down for 13 years.

As an Assembly member he left tangible achievements. Thanks to his work, holders of free travel passes can use them on both sides of the Border: and application forms for Irish passports are available at post offices in North. He was an advocate, too, for a bridge at Narrow Water to connect Co Down and Co Louth. Despite his efforts, this has not yet been built.

For Bradley, politics was about delivering for his constituents. He believed elected representatives should be in touch with their voters.

He personally knew most of the five and a half thousand people who voted for him. On many evenings on his way home from work he used go to part of his area, then call into constituents to find out what their problems were.

Historian

In every way, he was a man rooted in Burren, being for a time secretary of its GAA club. He was a nationalist who instinctively had an all-Ireland vision. He worked with the three major parties in the South, regularly attending their conferences, and felt a particular affinity with Fianna Fáil.

He served as the only Northern representative on the All Party Consultation Group for the Decade of Centenaries. As such, he energetically promoted knowledge of the 1916 Rising in schools in south Down and south Armagh.

Farming background

Peadar John Bradley

Bradley was educated at Carrick Primary School, followed by secondary schooling at St Colman’s College, Newry.

After St Colman’s, he held a variety of jobs. He came into his own as a salesman for animal feeds, travelling round south Down and south Armagh. Through that work he became widely known in the entire farming community. That was because he had the gift of engaging with every section of society. He brought that ability into his political life.

He is survived by his widow Leontia; daughters Joanne, Deborah, Catherine, Stephanie and Sinead; sons Martin, William and Miceal; sisters Nuala and Nora; brother Liam; and 16 grandchildren.