Tributes have been paid to former Fine Gael Government Minister, Ted Nealon from Sligo who was hugely respected in Donegal and nationally for his work as a broadcaster, journalist and as one of the very few people to make a successful transition from media to politics.
Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise and Employment, John Perry said: “It is with a sense of sadness and loss that I today learned of the passing of Ted was a true legend of politics, both here in Sligo and at a national level.”
First elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fine Gael Teachta Dála for Sligo–Leitrim at the 1981 General Election he was re-elected at each subsequent General Election until he retired from politics at the 1997 General Election.
He served as Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture from 1981 to 1982 in the Fine Gael–Labour Government of the 22nd Dáil.
In February 1983, he was appointed Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach with responsibilities for Arts and Culture. He was also Minister of State at the Department of Communications.
Minister Perry added: “He was a truly inspirational figure, whose opinion was highly respected and revered, across the political divide. A highly capable, intelligent and eloquently spoken politician, of the utmost integrity and good standing.”
Hugely respected by journalists and political students and political analysts/commentators, he was editor of Nealon’s Guide to the Dáil and Seanad which was published after every General Election and was indeed regarded as the “bible” of political statistics and facts.
Former editor of the Irish Times, Geraldine Kennedy said: “I was very sorry to hear of the death of Ted Nealon. He was one of the very few journalists to succeed in politics. Ted Nealon’s big innovation was the preparation and publication of Nealon’s Guide to the Dáil and Seanad after every general election since 1973.
“It was a great honour for me personally, as political editor of The Irish Times, that Ted bequeathed this newspaper jointly with his publishers, Gill and Macmillan, with the rights to continue its production in the future. It is the most valuable and authoritative reference book for parliamentarians, journalists, students and all of those people interested in the fine detail of elections and referendums,” she added.
Mr Nealon is survived by his wife Jo, his son Fergal and daughter Louise and the extended family.