'A generous, lovely lady ' - Irish parish priest in Batley joins those paying tribute to murdered Labour MP Jo Cox

'A generous, lovely lady ' - Irish parish priest in Batley joins those paying tribute to murdered Labour MP Jo Cox

THE IRISH parish priest in the constituency of murdered MP Jo Cox has described her as a lovely and generous lady.

Speaking to The Irish Post, Father Eamon Hegarty from the Catholic Church of St. Mary of the Angels in Batley described the mother-of-two's death as extremely sad, adding that she was a "really lovely lady".

The priest said the Labour politician was "really generous with her time and was willing to help in any way she could."

Ms Cox, who was due to celebrate her 42nd birthday next week, was attacked yesterday, June 16 at 12.53pm at Market Street in Birstall, Yorkshire.

The 41-year-old was pronounced dead about an hour later.

Police confirmed a firearm was recovered and that Ms Cox was attacked by a man who inflicted ‘serious and ultimately fatal injuries’.

A 52-year-old man was arrested by officers at the scene.

A 77-year-old man, who sustained non-life threatening injuries, was also attacked nearby.

Temporary Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police Dee Collins said: “A full investigation is underway to establish the motive for this murder."

jo cox tribute 2 840 450 Members of the public in London sign a tribute to MP Jo Cox

Fr Hegarty, whose Irish roots lie in Donegal and Mayo, said that the church was in its initial stages of renovations when Ms Cox came earlier this month to offer help with regards to advice on planning permission.

She made a donation to the church Fr Hegarty said, adding that she had known some of the priests at St Mary's.

She had attended the funeral of Father Peter O'Neill who had died on holiday in Vietnam a few months ago, he added.

Ms Cox, who was the MP for Batley and Spen, leaves behind her husband Brendan Cox and their two young children.

MPs vigil Jo Cox 840 450 Labour MP's Mary Creagh (L) and Caroline Flint (2R) leave St Peters church in Birstall after attending a vigil to slain Labour MP Jo Cox Picture: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Since her death there has been an out-pouring of condolences from shocked and saddened colleagues across Britain, as well as politicians in Ireland.

Conor McGinn, Labour MP for St. Helens North who is originally from Armagh, paid tribute to Ms Cox on Twitter.

"Faith, hope & love. And the greatest of these is love. We send that in abundance to the family of our beloved friend & colleague Jo Cox," he said.

"I've had beautiful, heartfelt messages about our colleague Jo Cox since the awful news. There is a goodness in people & a light still shines," he added.

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said: "The circumstances of the attack on Ms Cox and her resulting death are truly shocking.

"I extend my sincere condolences to Jo’s husband, family and friends and colleagues in the Labour party. My thoughts are with them all in their devastating loss. “

Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD also offered his and his party’s condolences.

“The news of Jo Cox’s killing comes as a terrible shock and will reverberate across these islands. Our thoughts are with her young family and her colleagues in the Labour Party and across Parliament,” he said.

Brendan Howlin, spokesperson on Justice and Northern Ireland for the Labour party in Ireland, also extended his sympathies.

"It was with shock and sadness that I learned of the death of Labour Party MP, Jo Cox," he said. "My thoughts first and foremost are with Jo’s husband Brendan and their two young children, and on behalf of the Irish Labour Party, I would like to extend my sympathies to them."

"I understand that Jo had played a very active role in Labour’s Remain campaign, and while the circumstances surrounding the shooting have yet to emerge, it is clearly the case that this attack was perpetrated on a democratically elected Member of Parliament who was simply going about the business of representing the interests of her constituents," he added.