Deep sadness at passing of ‘true Birr legend’

Story by Geraldine Grennan

Friday, 10th May, 2019 6:00pm

Deep sadness at passing of ‘true Birr legend’

The late Tony McLoughlin

TriWarm tributes have been pouring in this week for former Independent Councillor, Tony McLoughlin, who passed away on Bank Holiday Monday, May 6, in Birr Community Nursing Unit.

Described as “a true Birr legend” Mr McLoughlin, who was in his early 80s, was a founding member of Birr Tidy Towns and he cut a familiar figure in the town throughout his life and endeared himself to one and all with his easygoing manner and his willingness to stop and chat with everyone he met.

A native of Fairview in the town, the late Tony McLoughlin was deeply passionate about his home town and decided to go into local politics in 1994 as he felt it would give him a better opportunity to get things done in Birr. He won a seat on Birr Town Council in 1994 and managed to retain his seat in every election up to the abolition of the Council in May 2014. He also served for many years on Offaly County Council, and was deeply committed to his work as a local representative.

“Tony was an old style politician and a true Birr legend,” said Independent Cllr John Carroll in a warm tribute this week. “He recognised what Birr had to offer long before a lot of other people did, he saw the heritage, the beauty and the style of the town, which is one of the reasons he founded the Tidy Towns group, and he was always out and about picking up a little bit of litter, or a bit of chewing gum, and if he couldn't get up it up without the hoe, he would go home and get the hoe and come back and finish the job,” laughed Cllr Carroll, who added that this was “the mark of Tony, he loved Birr and everything about it.”

Cllr Carroll revealed that Tony McLoughlin signed his nomination papers for the upcoming local elections just two weeks ago and while he was weak and his health was failing, “he was as engaged as ever, chatting away about the local elections and wondering who was and wasn't putting their names forward.”

Birr Tidy Towns said they could not “put into words” the amount of work Tony McLoughlin had done “not just for Birr Tidy Towns, but for the people of Birr.” 
In a moving tribute on their Facebook page, the group said Tony was “always on hand and was never off duty, and it was not unusual to see him walking around the streets and parks of Birr, accompanied by his beloved dog, Millie, picking up litter and making sure our town was always clean and tidy.”

The late Cllr McLoughlin was also fondly remembered by the Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians) whose spokesman, David Ball, described him as “a true friend of the Association.” He recalled how Tony played “an instrumental role” in bringing together the Town Council and the Association who were visiting Birr on a regular basis in their early years. “Tony was a gentleman, with Birr town always close to his heart......we would like to thank him for his friendship, his warm welcome and his work for us” said Mr. Ball.

Offaly Fianna Fail TD, Barry Cowen, described Tony McLoughlin as “a colleague, friend and champion of Birr.” 

The former Independent Cllr was laid to rest in Clonoghill Cemetery following Requiem Mass in St Brendan's Church, Birr at noon yesterday (Thursday) and he is survived by his wife, Mary, sons John, Stephen and Joe, daughters Dolores, Patricia, Anne and Maureen, 21 grandchildren, and extended family to whom sincere sympathy is extended.

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