Tributes paid after deaths of former TDs

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Tributes have been paid following the deaths of two former TDs, Michael Herbert of Fianna Fáil and Luke Belton of Fine Gael.

Mr Herbert, who died aged 81, was first elected to the Dáil for the Limerick East constituency in 1969 and re-elected in 1973 and 1977.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said: "I got to know Michael when I served with him in the Dáil from 1977 to 1981. He was passionate about politics, about farming and the farming community.

"He was a frequent and passionate contributor to Dáil debates, and took every opportunity to pursue the interests of his constituents, both in Dáil Éireann and the European Parliament."

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny paid tribute to former TD and senator Mr Belton, who passed away this week aged 86.

He said Mr Belton, originally from Rathcline, Co Longford, was the first Longford man to be elected to a non-Longford constituency. "He was a very genuine political personality who represented his constituents diligently in the Dáil, Seanad and at local authority level," Mr Kenny said.

A publican by profession, Mr Belton was first elected to the Dáil for Dublin North Central in 1965.

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