Former TD Michael Fitzpatrick dies
Tributes have today been paid to former Fianna Fáil TD Michael Fitzpatrick who has died aged 69.
The former TD for Kildare North announced he was suffering from motor neurone disease in March 2010.
Motor neurone disease is a degenerative disorder that affects motor neurones, the cells that control voluntary muscle activity in the body.
Following his diagnosis Mr Fitzpatrick announced he intended to continue his work as a Dáil deputy. However, he failed to retain his seat in this year's general election.
Fianna Fáil party leader Micheál Martin said today that Mr Fitzpatrick would be sadly missed.
"Michael was a true gentleman. He never took for granted the honour of being a member of Dáil Éireann. His honesty and generosity of spirit earned him the respect of all sides of the House," he said.
A native of Coothill, Co Cavan, Mr Fitzpatrick was elected to Dáil Éireann in 2007, having served on Kildare County Council from 1999 and as Mayor of Kildare in 2003 and 2004.
A former garda and auctioneer, Mr Fitzpatrick was also for many years the constituency manager in Kildare for former minister for finance and EU commissioner Charlie McCreevy.
In an interview with The Irish Times, published shortly after he announed his diagnosis, Mr Fitzpatrick said that he wasn't scared of death.
"I know this condition is incurable and terminal, but I think of living all the time, not dying. My focus is on living," he said.
Mr Fitzpatrick is survived by his wife Maureen and his son Daragh.
As a mark of respect to the former TD, the annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration at Bodenstown, Co Kildare this Sunday has been cancelled.