Former Fine Gael and Independent TD Peter Mathews has died aged 65. He had been ill with cancer for some time.
Mr Mathews was elected as Fine Gael TD at the 2011 general election in the Dublin South constituency. He had been a vocal commentator on the financial crisis, writing for newspapers and appearing on radio and television regularly.
He lost the Fine Gael whip in 2013 when he opposed the Protection of Human Life in Pregnancy Bill, citing his opposition to abortion. He later left the Fine Gael party and despite his illness, stood as an Independent candidate in last year’s election.
However, with his constituency reduced after a boundary revision, he failed to retain his Dáil seat. He remained an occasional visitor to Leinster House.
He was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in 2016 after a routine check-up.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was saddened to hear of his untimely death. He had “served his constituents with commitment and energy.”
“The economic crisis prompted him to get involved in politics and he had very strongly held views on how that crisis, particularly in the banking sector, should be addressed.
“Peter Mathews bore his illness with courage and resilience,” he said.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin said Mr Mathews “ was great company and always had time for everyone...He was a diligent and dedicated public representative who worked tirelessly on behalf of his constituents. Peter was a principled man who was not afraid to stand up for what he believed in.”
Fine Gael TD for Dublin-Rathdown, Josepha Madigan, described Mr Mathews as “ clear and outspoken in his views and was very well loved by the people of his constituency in Dublin South.”
Her party colleague, MEP Brian Hayes, tweeted that Mr Mathews will be “sadly missed”, while Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar tweeted “Ireland has lost one of its true gentleman”.
Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond said Mr Mathews was “an absolute gentleman” and that he “thoroughly enjoyed his company whether it was social or political. Peter and I regularly had lively discussions on political matters but never once fell out.”
His colleague, Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan, described Mr Mathews as “passionate,articulate and extremely helpful when advice was sought”.
Fine Gael TDfor Dubin-Fingal Alan Kelly expressed his condolences to the family and friends of his former colleague.
Mr Mathews attended Gonzaga College and went on to study Commerce in University College Dublin. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant and worked for Coopers and Lybrand (now PwC) and also ICC bank, for 20 years. He left ICC bank in 1998 to set up his independent consultancy business.
Mr Mathews passed away on Monday night.
He is survived by his wife Susan and their four adult children.