Fianna Fail leader pays tribute to former Senator Bernard McGlinchey

martinFianna Fáil Leader, Micheál Martin TD, has expressed his sympathy on the death of former Senator Bernard McGlinchey.

“It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Bernard McGlinchey. Bernard’s record in public life was a remarkable one. Bernard served in Seanad Éireann for over 20 years and in that time had a significant impact on Irish politics and public life. He also had an extraordinary record in local government, serving for over 50 years as a Councillor in Donegal. His commitment to local government and to the advancement of his county was immense.

“Bernard also worked diligently for, and was a very effective member of, the North Western Health Board with a particular interest in the development of community health initiatives. He supported many other public representatives and gave them great help and guidance, many of whom later went on to become members of Dáil Éireann and government ministers. Bernard also sought to improve the quality of life of the people he represented.

“Bernard’s contribution to Fianna Fáil was immense and his role in guiding Fianna Fáil in Donegal North East over many years and during successive elections was truly skilled and inspirational. He was towering figure within our party in Donegal for decades, someone who made a real impact and difference and someone who will be missed.

“I know he will also be deeply missed in Donegal and across the country.

“On behalf of myself and the Fianna Fáil party I would like to extend my sympathies to Bernard’s family and friends.

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.”

Ireland North West MEP, Pat the Cope Gallagher has also paid tribute, he said he's saddened to learn of the death of his friend and close political colleague Bernard McGlinchey.

Pat the Cope described Bernard as a true friend whom he knew before his entry into politics, as their families had close connections through Bernard's mother, Sarah O'Boyle who came from Rutland Island.

Bernard always had a very particular affection for the Rosses and West Donegal. He was a highly respected politician of 50 years having served at a local, county, national and international level. Bernard was a member of Letterkenny Town Council from 1955 to 1999, a member of Donegal County Council from 1960 to 2004 and a member of Seanad Èireann from 1961 to 1982. He also served for a period as a member of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

Pat the Cope stated: “Bernard was a true Donegal and Letterkenny man at heart. All the major developments which took place in Letterkenny were initiated and developed by Bernard. He was deeply involved in the development of Letterkenny General Hospital, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, the decentralisation of part of the social welfare offices to Letterkenny and the provision of the Bernard McGlinchey Park. These are but a few of the monuments which stand testament to his commitment to Letterkenny and Donegal.

“Bernard was a highly respected politician and had a unique working relationship with all parties, both in the urban and county councils. At the commencement of each new Council, he spearheaded an arrangement with other parties for the lifetime of the Council, which in itself was a unique achievement considering Donegal politics. He was an expert on local government legislation and his opinion was rarely, if ever, challenged.”

Recalling his time in the Seanad, Pat the Cope said: “Bernard was a great orator and spoke frequently in the Seanad about many issues of local, national and international importance. He holds a unique record having spoken for 8.5 hours on the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Bill of 1975.”

On his role in Fianna Fáil, Pat the Cope said: “Bernard McGlinchey was totally committed to Fianna Fáil and he participated in bye-election campaigns throughout the country. In particular the role he played in the Clement Coughlin bye-election of 1980 was outstanding.”

Bernard was described by Pat the Cope as an honest, generous and decent man who was always available as a politician to assist individuals, families and communities throughout Donegal.