An Tánaiste and Leader of Fine Gael, Leo Varadkar has expressed his condolences on the death of Cllr Bernard McGuinness, a Fine Gael stalwart in Donegal for more than 40 years.
“It was with deep sadness that I learned of the passing of Cllr Bernard McGuinness.
“Bernard was first elected to Donegal County Council in 1979, and has been returned to office at each subsequent election since that time. His commitment to his constituents, to the county of Donegal and to his party was exemplary during that long period of public service. Bernard will be remembered for the huge amount of energy and time he gave to crucial cross border projects. My condolences go to his wife Jan, their five children and his extended family.”
Deputy Joe McHugh added, “I was extremely sad to learn of the passing of my friend and colleague, Councillor Bernard Mc Guinness, Culdaff.
“At the time I entered politics Bernard had already clocked up 20 years of political experience having entered politics in 1979. Bernard was my political mentor for more than two decades and at all times I knew my place – Bernard was the boss! In his last two terms he was a father figure to many new generation councillors, a role he adopted with great enthusiasm.
“He wore his blue shirt and County Council tie with pride and always fought his corner for his County and beloved Inishowen, with a particular fondness for the Northern part of the peninsula.
“In Bernard’s 42 years in politics he continued to keep his politics on the basics with his no-nonsense common-sense approach to all challenges. He was an honourable decent man and a Fine Gael man to the backbone.
“To Jan, Maria, Johnny, Jean, Ross, Gregory and the grand-children, my deepest sympathy at this very difficult time.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.”
Cllrs Jimmy Kavanagh, Martin Harley and Barry Sweeney added: “Bernard was a one off – a farmer, publican, shopkeeper, and most of all a politician. First elected in 1979 and re-elected at every election since, he contested general elections, served as Chairman of Donegal County Council and as a member of the North Western Health Board, the Health Service Forum, cross border bodies, and a host of other committees in a career spanning 42 years. His interest never diminished, and he was still as active as ever and is the current chair of Inishowen Municipal Council, and has been chairman of the strategic policy committee on housing since the 2019 local election.
“He was a dedicated public representative who loved Donegal and most of all his native Inishowen which he served with great loyalty, hard work and commitment for such a long period of time. Solving problems and finding solutions for the people that he represented was at the heart of everything he did.
“Bernard will be sadly missed by all of us in Fine Gael; to the local organisation in Donegal he is simply irreplaceable. Sincere sympathy to Jan, Maria, Jean, Johnny, Ross & Gregory and to all his family and friends on their very sad loss. May he rest in peace.”