Louth Fianna Fáil TD Seamus Kirk has paid tribute to former Fianna Fáil Minister and Ceann Comhairle Pádraig Faulkner who died in hospital early morning.
 
Born in Dundalk in 1918 Pádraig Faulkner was first elected as a Fianna Fáil candidate in the General Election in 1957, having been a candidate in the 1954 by-election.  He was returned by the people of Louth at every subsequent election until his retirement in 1987.  During the intervening 30 years Pádraig made a major contribution to the development and evolution of the economy as a Minister in many Departments.  
 
As Minister for Education from July 1969 to March 1973 he introduced the Regional College concept, which has made a major contribution to the development and expansion of education in Ireland.   Known now as Institutes of Technology, these colleges care for tens of thousands of students annually.   
 
As Minister for Posts & Telegraphs July 1977 to December 1979 he brought forward legislation to establish 2 commercial semi-state companies, An Post & Telecom Éireann.  This move brought a new developmental dimension to sectors in urgent need of reform.  He was Minister for the Gaeltacht from March 1968 to July 1969.  
 
Deputy Kirk said, “Pádraig was an iconic political figure in Louth because of his many and varied achievements in a long political career.  A man of great integrity and powerful application to every task to be undertaken, he will be remembered for his dedication to the people of Louth and to the country.  He served as Ceann Comhairle from October 1980 to June 1981 and was appointed to the Council of State, by then President, Mr Patrick Hillary, in 1990.
 
“I had the privilege of serving with him from November 1982 to the General Election in 1987.  His vast political experience, his prudent and sensible advice was always readily available to the members of the Parliamentary Party at that time.  We always had a close working relationship as Public Representatives in Louth.  His wise counsel will unfortunately no longer be available to us.
 
“I wish to express my sincere sympathy to his wife Kitty and their children and grandchildren at this time. Ar dheis lamh Dé go raibh a anam dilis.”