Tributes paid to outspoken former TD Brendan McGahon

Taoiseach says former Fine Gael TD showed ‘exceptional resolve’ in standing up to IRA

Brendan McGahon assists a local taxi man at work in the Square Dundalk in 1996. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Brendan McGahon assists a local taxi man at work in the Square Dundalk in 1996. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh


Taoiseach Enda Kenny has led tributes to former Fine Gael TD Brendan McGahon, who has died aged 80.

Mr Mc Gahon was first elected to the Dáil in November 1982 in the Louth constituency where he retained his seat until his retirement from politics in 2002.

He was an outspoken politician who held trenchant views on a variety of social issues.

He campaigned against the prohibition of the death penalty, advocated chemical castration for rapists, and was a member of the World Anti-Communist League.

He reserved his greatest invective though for the Provisional IRA and for Sinn Féin. He described Gerry Adams as akin to the notorious Nazi doctor “Dr Mengele, the angel of death”.

He was deeply opposed to the decriminalisation of homosexual activity in 1993, saying it was “the worst legislation ever foisted on the Irish people” and “homosexuality is a departure from normality and while homosexuals deserve our compassion they do not deserve our tolerance”.

He also held trenchant views on single mothers as well as the drinks industry, saying in 1997 that alcohol was “an awful illness. Young people are swimming in a sea of drink”.

He also defied the Fine Gael whip when he voted in favour of a Tony Gregory Bill to outlaw hare coursing.

Paying tribute, the Taoiseach said: “Throughout his political career, Brendan was outspoken on behalf of the people of Louth in opposition to the actions of the IRA, and he showed exceptional resolve in standing up to them.

“Brendan also had success on the sporting field. He was a talented soccer player and played for Dundalk FC in the Premier Division.

“My condolences are with Brendan’s family, including his children Robert, Conor, Adele, Keith and Jill; his brother, former Cllr. Johnny McGahon; and his nephew, Cllr. John McGahon.”

Former Fine Gael taoiseach John Bruton also expressed his condolences, saying: “Brendan was an exceptionally courageous politician who stood up for the democratic institutions of the State. He was a true original who thought for himself.”

Fianna Fáil Leader, Micheál Martin also paid tribute to Mr McGahon’s stance against the Provisional IRA “at a time when his own life could have been put in danger”.

His body is reposing at Mc Geoughs Funeral Home, Jocelyn Street, Dundalk, from 2pm until 8pm on Friday. The Removal takes place on Saturday at 10.50am to St. Patrick’s Cathedral arriving for Mass at 11am with burial afterwards in St Patrick’s Cemetery.