Tributes for former Communist Party chairman

 

Tributes have been paid to Communist Party chairman and veteran of the Spanish Civil War Michael O'Riordan, who has died.

He stood out against the tide of Irish conservatism and clerical domination that kept Ireland backward and isolated in the 1930s, 40s and 50s
Ruairí Quinn, Labour Party

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern noted Mr O'Riordan was one of the survivors of the International Brigades, who made an "enormous sacrifice" in the fight for democracy in Spain in the 1930s.

"Michael O'Riordan was subsequently honoured by the Spanish government for that commitment," he said.

Mr O'Riordan was also member of the old IRA in his youth and was interned in the Curragh in the 1940s.

Mr Ahern said the late Mr O'Riordan was "a fearless fighter for the labour movement throughout his life". He conveyed his sympathy to Mr O'Riordan's son, Manus, who he said continues in his father's footsteps, and to his daughter Brenda.

Former Labour Party leader Ruairí Quinn said he had learned "with profound regret" of the death of Mr O'Riordan.

"Michael O'Riordan was a leader of the struggle against fascism in Europe and a heroic veteran of the International Brigade that fought on the side of republicanism and democracy in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939.

"[He] stood out against the tide of Irish conservatism and clerical domination that kept Ireland backward and isolated in the 1930s, 40s and 50s," Mr Quinn said.

"He remained loyal to his labour roots and socialist values throughout his life. Although a committed member of the Communist Party he urged generations of young Irish socialists to join the Labour Party and to work democratically for a prosperous Ireland free and fair, compassionate and tolerant.

"The fact that such sentiments are now taken as normal is a measure of the change brought about by the courage of the likes of O'Riordan.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams also expressed his condolences to the family and friends of Mr O'Riordan. He said Mr O'Riordan was "an inspiration to all those who knew him and will be sadly missed".