Fine Gael TDs pay tribute to former colleague and banking critic
TRIBUTES have been paid to former TD and high-profile banking critic Peter Mathews, who has died aged 65.
The ex-accountant was elected to represent the Dublin South constituency for Fine Gael in 2011 but was later expelled from the parliamentary party for refusing to back a government abortion bill.
He left the party and stood again in last year's general election as an Independent but failed to retain his seat.
Mr Mathews became well-known in homes throughout the country for his many televised and radio appearances, as well as newspaper commentaries, as an authority on banking matters during the financial crisis.
He was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer last year.
Catherine Martin, Green Party TD in his former Dublin South constituency, paid a glowing tribute to Mr Mathews's role in helping the public understand the banking crisis that took the country to the brink.
"Peter was a no-nonsense politician of conviction, who became one of the expert commentators, who demystified to the public the cause and collapse of banking in this country at the time of the onset of the recession," she said.
"His independent thinking and intellectual vigour will be missed, but most of all his fundamental decency and warmth is a great loss to all who had the privilege of knowing him."
Josepha Madigan, Fine Gael TD for the neighbouring Dublin Rathdown constituency, also offered her condolences to his family.
"I bumped into him in Leinster House just before Christmas and he was in great spirits," she said.
"He was clear and outspoken in his views and was very well-loved by the people of his constituency in Dublin South. He will be sadly missed."
Fine Gael senator Neale Richmond said Mr Mathews was "an absolute gentleman" who was held in high regard by his community and liked by all he met.
"He fought his illness with great bravery and I was deeply saddened to learn of his passing," he said.
Mr Mathews is survived by his wife Susan and four children.