Former Labour TD and ‘giant of Wicklow politics’ Liam Kavanagh dies aged 86

Ex-minister ‘proved himself a man of great integrity’, says President Michael D Higgins

Former Labour Party minister and TD for Wicklow Liam Kavanagh has died aged 86.

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly described him as "a giant of Wicklow politics over many decades".

Liam Kavanagh made “a huge contribution both locally and nationally during his time as a councillor, TD, MEP and Minister, and was viewed as a quiet kingmaker within the Labour parliamentary party,” Mr Kelly said.

Mr Kavanagh served as a TD from 1969 until 1997.

In 1981, he was appointed minister for labour and public service, before taking over as minister for the environment in 1983. He remained in that office until 1986.

Mr Kavanagh also served as a member of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly, was chairman of the Semi-State Bodies Commission from 1995 to 1997, and was a member of the Standards in Public Office Commission after it was set up in 2001.

Throughout his career, Mr Kavanagh served the people he represented “with determination, honesty, and integrity, and he continued the proud tradition of Labour in Wicklow,” Mr Kelly said, extending his sympathies to his family and friends.

President Michael D Higgins also paid tribute to Mr Kavanagh, describing him as "a rock of politics" in Wicklow, and a "dedicated public servant and an effective Minister".

He would be “best remembered” for the thousands of council homes he built during his tenure as minister for the environment in the 1980s, the President said.

“Liam Kavanagh proved himself a man of great integrity and I know his loss will be felt by those he served with such dedication throughout his life,” he said.

Mr Kavanagh is survived by his wife Margaret, daughter Rosemary, and his grandchildren and siblings.