Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Ex-Workers' Party leader dies at 86

Tomas Mac Giolla, the former leader of the Workers' Party has died after a long battle with illness

The former president of the Workers' Party, Tomas Mac Giolla, has died after a long battle with illness.

The 86-year-old, Dublin West TD for 10 years from 1982 and Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1993, was a member of the party's ard comhairle up until his death.

Michael Finnegan, current party president, led tributes to Mr Mac Giolla, describing him as a civil rights champion.

"Tomas Mac Giolla was a greatly under-estimated figure in Irish politics, who played a major role in the struggle for civil rights and democracy in Northern Ireland and for people's rights throughout Ireland and internationally," Mr Finnegan said.

Mr Mac Giolla was born into a farming family in Nenagh, Co Tipperary. He was a nephew of the Irish Parliamentary Party MP, TP Gill.

He was educated at St Flannan's College, Ennis, Co Clare, and completed a degree in commerce at University College Dublin before working for ESB and entering politics with the Workers' Party in the late 1970s.

Before his time in the party he was elected president of Sinn Fein in 1962, the same year the late Cathal Goulding became Chief of Staff of the IRA.

He is survived by his wife May, sister Evelyn and nephews and nieces.

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