Tánaiste pays tribute to late senator
The Tánaiste has today paid tribute to PD Senator Kate Walsh who has died following a long illness.
The Progressive Democrat Senator announced last month that she would not contest the general election due to ill health. The 60-year-old had been suffering from diabetes and related illness.
PD leader Michael McDowell expressed his sadness at her death and said Ms Walsh was a "gentle yet brave woman" who was admired and respected by her colleagues and by the members of her local community in Celbridge, where she had lived for most of her life.
Mr McDowell said Ms Walsh - a community activist in Kildare for 30 years - was "an inspirational figure" and paid tribute to her "loyal service" to the PD party.
"Many tributes will be paid to Kate. I want simply to say that she was a lovely person and a true friend, both to myself and to our party," he said.
Minister for Health Mary Harney said Ms Walsh was her "close personal friend" who had dedicated her life to improving the lives of others.
"She had a wonderful way with people, and everyone who came into contact with her was impressed by her genuine warmth. She will be sadly missed," she said.
Senator John Dardis, deputy leader of Seanad Éireann said Ms Walsh, who was nominated to the Seanad in June 2002, was "one of the most popular people in Leinster House" and expressed his sadness at her "untimely death".
"Kate was one of the most conscientious of members in her attendance and voting record," he said.
Ms Walsh, a native of Co Laois, had a long record of working with local youths and senior citizens in Kildare, establishing the annual "Black and White" fundraising ball in aid of the elderly.
In 1982 she became honorary lord mayor of Celbridge and was elected to Kildare council in 1999.