Former FF minister of state Sean Calleary dies, aged 86

Tributes paid to a ‘gentleman to the core’ who ‘you could not but like’

Sean Calleary enjoyed a 19-year-span as a TD. Photograph: Getty

Sean Calleary enjoyed a 19-year-span as a TD. Photograph: Getty


Former Mayo TD and Minister of State Sean Calleary has died, aged 86.

He is th father of TD Dara Calleary who was recently appointed deputy leader of Fianna Fáil.

Mr Calleary’s death is being mourned in sporting as well as political circles.

A civil engineer by profession he played rugby, gaelic football and hurling at the highest level as a young man.

Politics was in the young Sean Calleary’s blood as his father, Phelim, represented the old Mayo East constituency from 1952 to 1969.

During a 19-year timespan as a TD Sean Calleary served as minister of state at the Department of Public Service from 1979 to 1981, at the Department of Trade, Commerce and Tourism in 1982 and at the Department of Foreign Affairs from 1981 to 1987.

He was a member of Mayo County Council from 1967 to 1987 and served on Ballina Urban District Council from 1981 to 1987.

Paying tribute on Monday, Mr Calleary’s former secretary Annie May Reape, a member of Mayo County Council, described him as “a gentleman to the core”.

She added: “You could not but like him.”

Ms Reape said her “former boss” had been extremely active right up to the last and insisted on being brought to vote in last month’s referendum as he felt it was his duty to exercise his franchise on the repeal issue.

Mr. Calleary is survived by his wife Doris (nee Brogan), daughter Siofra, sons John, Conall and Dara as well as grandchildren and other relatives.