Taoiseach leads tributes after former Finn Gael TD John Connor dies in Roscommon collision

Taoiseach leads tributes after former Finn Gael TD John Connor dies in Roscommon collision

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has led the tributes to John Connor after the former Fine Gael TD and Senator died in a collision in Co. Roscommon.

Mr Connor was involved in a single-vehicle collision in Frenchpark shortly before 2pm on Saturday.

He was taken by ambulance to Sligo University Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

"I am deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of former Fine Gael TD and Senator John Connor," the Taosieach said in a statement this afternoon.

He added: "John had an unwavering commitment to the people of his area and brought a considerable expertise to politics at local and national level.

"He had a keen intellect and was well versed in international affairs, but always had his finger on the pulse of local matters.

"He was very popular among his colleagues in Fine Gael and I know provided good counsel to a number of younger public representatives, who were grateful for his advice and time.

"I extend my deepest sympathies to John’s family, as well as the many friends he made throughout his life.

"Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis."

'A man of huge integrity'

Mr Connor was first elected TD for the Roscommon East Galway constituency in June 1981.

He lost his seat in the 1982 General Election but was nominated to the Seanad in 1983 by then Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald, where he served on the Agriculture panel.

He regained his seat for Roscommon East Galway in the 1989 General Election, holding it until 1992.

Mr Connor was subsequently elected for the Roscommon Longford constituency in 1992 and appointed Opposition Spokesperson on European Affairs, a position he held until 1997.

He was then elected to Seanad Éireann, where he remained until 2002.

In 1999, Mr Connor was elected to Roscommon County Council and re-elected in 2004, before retiring from public life in 2009.

Others joined the tributes to Mr Connor, including Fine Gael TD for Sligo-Leitrim, Frank Feighen.

"John was a man of huge integrity, a great orator, political wisdom, good company and a great friend. May he rest in peace," Mr Feighen posted on Twitter.

His words were echoed by Denis Naughton, Independent TD for Roscommon-Galway, who wrote: "He was someone who cared passionately for rural Ireland.

"As an orator John was the true successor to his neighbour James Dillon. May he RIP."