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Taoiseach pays glowing tribute to former Donegal TD

Taoiseach said the late Paddy Harte opened hearts and minds

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Taoiseach pays glowing tribute to former Donegal TD

The Late Paddy Harte

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar paid a glowing tribute to the late Donegal TD Paddy Harte at an address to the Fine Gael party at the weekend.

The Taoiseach praised Paddy Harte’s successful work to secure permanent and official recognition of Ireland's war dead.

He said: “As you know, this year marks the centenary of the end of the First World War, and I am reminded that we would never have to come to terms with that part of our history only for the courage of someone else who passed away this year, Paddy Harte.

“He built bridges when others were hardening borders; he saw the good in the people as he opened hearts and opened minds.”

The Taoiseach made his remarks at the Fine Gael Presidential Dinner in Dublin on Saturday night.

Paddy Harte died in January of this year.

He was a TD from 1961 until 1997 and also served as Minister of State in the Department of Posts and Telegraphs under Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald.

Mr Harte has been remembered for his successful campaign to honour the memory of Irish soldiers who died in the First World War.

Donegal Minister Joe McHugh said: “It is fitting that An Taoiseach remembered the legacy of Paddy Harte with the centenary of the ending of First World War just a few weeks away.

"As Government Chief Whip I have sought time in the Dail for expressions of sympathy to be made in memory of the late Donegal TD.  We hope to do this in November.

“Paddy’s work in the mid-90s to formally and properly honour the Irish war dead set the groundwork for then President Mary McAleese, the Queen and Prince Albert of Belgium to open the Island of Ireland Peace Park in Messines – the first official recognition and a permanent reminder of the sacrifice of Ireland’s war dead."