Mary Lou McDonald TD pays tribute to Republican "trailblazer" Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has described Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin as "a trailblazer and a principled Republican leader."
Ms McDonald paid tribute to her friend and colleague following the announcement of Teachta Ó Caoláin TD that he will stand down from his elected role at the conclusion of the current Dáil term.
Speaking in Cavan tonight, the Sinn Féin Leader said;
"Caoimhghín O Caoláin, has been always been a source of great inspiration to me.
"As most you will know, Caoimhghín was the first Sinn Féin TD elected in the modern era of our struggle.
"He topped the poll in this constituency in 1997 and he has been returned at every general election since
"In his more than twenty years as a Teachta Dala, it has been easy to see why that has been the case.
"Dedicated to his community, an exemplary Parliamentarian and a politician of the rarest kind, Caoimhghín has spent decades of his life selflessly working to better the lives of others.
"He took the values and politics to which he is so committed into the Dáil, and even when he was alone, in the belly of the political establishment, Caoimhghín never shirked from the challenge.
"Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin never let us down.
"He was the party’s Dáil leader from 2002 to 2011.
"His leadership during that time is one of the reasons why the party has grown and achieved significant electoral success.
"As our Health Spokesperson for many years, Caoimhghín has been a leading voice against the creeping privatisation of our health service. He put forward the Republican vision for healthcare in Ireland in an articulate and intelligent way and with formidable insight.
"He has brought those same qualities to his current recent roles as party Spokesperson on Disability Rights and Older people and as Chairperson of the Oireachtas Justice Committee.
"As a republican activist, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has made an enormous contribution to Sinn Féin, to Cavan & Monaghan and to Ireland.
"Even though Republican activists don't retire, I am sure that his wife Briege and their five children will be glad to see more of their husband and father when he does step down.
"On behalf of Sinn Féin, I want to thank them for kindly sharing Caoimhghín with us for so long."