Republic of Ireland news

Sinn Féin pay tribute to 'inspirational' councillor

Joe Reilly pictured in March this year at Stormont at the unveiling of a portrait of Martin McGuinness. Picture by Mal McCann
Marie Louise McConville

SINN Féin has paid tribute to an "inspirational" Co Meath councillor following his death.

Joe Reilly, who was 67, passed away this week following a battle with cancer which had been diagnosed in November.

Mr Reilly served as a councillor in Navan and Meath for almost 25 years.

A close friend of former Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, he was a member of the party's ard comhairle and was credited with played a key role in the peace process.

Mr Reilly entered politics having served time in prison after he was caught with other IRA members with explosives in a house in Donabate in Dublin in 1975.

Sentenced to four years in Portlaoise jail, he and others managed to escape during a court appearance in Dublin but were caught and he received a 10-year term.

Following his release in 1985, Mr Reilly stood as a Sinn Féin candidate in the 1987 general election and was elected a councillor in 1994.

He later topped the poll in the Navan Urban Council election in 1999, and came close to a Dail seat in 2002.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said the party was "heartbroken" by Mr Reilly's death.

"Joe was a tireless republican leader and an inspirational friend to so many. He was dearly loved and he will be greatly missed," she said.

“Joe was deeply respected by all who knew him. His honour, honesty and integrity both as a republican activist and a public representative shone brightly for all to see.

"He was dedicated to his community and to making Ireland a better place for everybody."

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