Northern Ireland news

President Michael D Higgins leads tributes to Mervyn Taylor

The late Labour minister for labour Mervyn Taylor. Picture by RTÉ

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has led tributes to former minister Mervyn Taylor following his death, aged 89.

The former Labour Dublin South-West TD was first elected to the Dáil in 1981.

He first joined the cabinet in 1993 as minister for labour before becoming the inaugural minister for equality and law reform.

The first cabinet minister in the Dublin government from the Jewish faith, Mr Taylor retired from politics in 1997.

The president described the late former minister as a "founding figure in the movement for equal access for all citizens before the law".

"The death of Mervyn Taylor represents the passing of an icon in the struggle for equality," he said.

President Higgins said Mr Taylor would be remembered by all those who had worked with him "as a distinguished public servant who served with such dedication, as one of the most gracious, unselfish and kindest members ever to serve in the Dáil".

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly said that among Mr Taylor's biggest achievements was his part in the divorce referendum in 1995.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar described Mr Taylor as an "inspirational politician" and a "democratic revolutionary".

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