Tributes paid to PD founder who helped broker peace among rival gangs

Former Limerick mayor Dick Sadlier showed courage in peace moves

Dick Sadlier, who died on Monday. Photograph: Press 22

Dick Sadlier, who died on Monday. Photograph: Press 22

 

Tributes have been paid to Dick Sadlier, a founding member of the Progressive Democrats, who showed “courage” in helping attempt to broker peace between rival gangs while he was mayor of his native Limerick.

Mr Sadlier (68), who died on Monday following a short illness, was mayor on three occasions, including from 2001-2002 and 2003-2004, at the height of the Limerick gang feud which led to over 20 killings.

In March 2004, when he had switched from the PDs to Fianna Fáil, he was approached by then junior minister for justice, Willie O’Dea, to accompany him to a meeting to help mediate peace talks between rival gangs.

The talks, chaired by Sadlier and O’Dea, were attended by leaders of the Dundon McCarthy/Ryan gang as well as the Collopy gang.

Mr O’Dea said Sadlier was “very brave” to have attended the meeting.

“It took guts for him to come into that meeting. I told him I’d understand if he didn’t want to come, but he said he felt it was for the good of Limerick, and that it might help reduce the tension and the violence.”

O’Dea said there had been a “gang war” raging at the time he and Sadlier sat down with the gang leaders.

O’Dea said a “unofficial ceasefire” was agreed between the gangs. However the agreed pact arising out of the meeting did not last for long.

Further killings continued throughout the mid to late 2000s.

Sadlier’s political roots were in Fianna Fáil but he helped launch the Progressive Democrats. He resigned from the party in 1998, after the leadership dismissed a proposal from Sadlier calling for a Fianna Fáil /PD merger.

Retired State Solicitor for Limerick, Michael Murray, a personal friend of Sadlier, said he had been a “man of commendable integrity”.

Mr Sadlier is survived by his wife Mary, son Eoghan and daughter Aoife. He will be buried on Wednesday in Kilmurry Cemetery, Castletroy, following noon requiem Mass at Mary Magdalene Church, Monaleen.