The late Ger Connolly.

Tanáiste and FF pay tribute to Offaly 'political giant'

The death has been announced of longstanding Offaly Fianna Fáil TD and Minister for State, Ger Connolly, who is being remembered as a "political giant", a "larger than life presence in Offaly and Irish politics for decades" and a "community champion".

Mr Connolly, who was a Dáil Deputy in Laois/Offaly for almost 30 years, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family in Droimnin Nursing Home, Stradbally on Thursday.

Tánaiste and Uachtarán Fhianna Fáil Micheál Martin led the tributes, saying he is deeply saddened to learn of the death of former councillor, TD and Minister, colleague and good friend, Ger Connolly.

"Ger Connolly was a passionate and deeply committed former councillor, TD and Minister who cared deeply about his community, constituency and country."

The Bracknagh man was elected at his first attempt in 1969, and was re-elected at each subsequent election until his retirement in 1997.

In 1979, Charles Haughey appointed the farmer and auctioneer Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, and he kept the same position in five subsequent governments right up to 1992. He retired from politics in 1997.

Michéal Martin described Ger as "a man with a deep commitment to public service and to the betterment of his community".

"He had a boundless energy and an infectious enthusiasm and was a larger than life presence in Offaly and Irish politics for many decades. He worked tirelessly to improve the lives of those communities and people he represented.

"Ger was a diligent and hardworking public representative who never forgot where he came from and campaigned continuously for its development and improvement.

"As Minister of State, he brought that same energy and commitment to the national stage and impacted positively on people’s lives and communities right across the country," added the Tanáiste as part of an extensive tribute to the late TD.

“Ger loved working with people and was in politics for all the right reasons. He made a real mark and difference on those who he represented in his beloved Offaly, and particularly North Offaly. Ger was a true community champion.

“After his retirement from national politics, Ger remained an active and valued member of Fianna Fáil in Offaly, willingly sharing his insights and sage advice and wisdom. More recently, Ger served as President of Offaly Comhairle Dáilcheantair of Fianna Fáil.

“Ger loved his party, his county and country. I always enjoyed meeting him and getting his advice and insights. Today, Fianna Fáil is the poorer for his passing.

“On my own behalf, and on behalf of the Fianna Fáil organisation, I want to express my deepest sympathies to his family, his children Caitríona, John, Stephen and Ger Jr, his grandchildren and the wider Connolly family. RIP,” Mr Martin ended.

Edenderry Comhairle Ceantair Fianna Fail extended their deepest sympathy to the family, friends and ex- colleagues of Ger Connolly.

The group said Mr Connolly served North Offaly with distinction from 1969 to 1997.

"Ger was an excellent public servant who worked hard for the constituency of Offaly but most especially North Offaly.

"He was a real powerhouse of politics and will be remembered fondly by those he worked hard for throughout North Offaly.

"A great orator who could stir up a crowd which he did on many occasions be it a political rally or in Dail Eireann, many a person will be able to quote a Ger Connolly speech or phrase even to this day.

"While Ger may have left national politics in 1997, he kept active locally in North Offaly and across the county with Fianna Fail, attending meetings of the party regularly, campaigning and advising which we were all extremely grateful for.

"We have lost a political giant and one who will be remembered for many a year to come," the statement from Edenderry Comhairle Ceantair Fianna Fail concluded.

Bracknagh GAA said on said the club was "saddened to hear of the passing of their club president Ger, our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time, Ar Dheis go Raibh a anam".

Ger Connolloy passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving children Caitríona, John, Stephen and Ger Jr while in the excellent care and attention of the wonderful staff in Droimnin Nursing Home, Stradbally on Thursday. He is predeceased by his dearest wife Marie, daughter-in-law Róisín and baby granddaughter Catherine.

Ger will be greatly missed by his son-in-law Liam, daughters-in-law Gráinne and Jennifer, his beloved grandchildren Eimear, Hugh, Ruth, Grace, James, Emma, Will, Cara and Ed and a large circle of friends and wonderful neighbours.

His remains will repose at Maher's Chapel of Rest, Portarlington on Saturday evening from 4pm with Rosary at 7pm.

Requiem Mass in St Brochan's Church, Bracknagh on Sunday at 2pm. Funeral afterwards to St Brochan's Cemetery.

Ger's Requiem Mass will be streamed live on