Belfast Telegraph

Tributes paid as former Donegal TD Harte laid to rest

By Staff Reporter

Mourners yesterday paid their final respects to Paddy Harte, the former Fine Gael TD for Donegal North East.

Hundreds of people gathered in Raphoe, where his coffin was carried from his home to St Eunan's Church for Requiem Mass.

Mr Harte, who was 86, had also served as an Irish minister of state at the Department of Posts and Telegraphs between 1981 and 1982.

In 1998, he received the European of the Year award for his work in developing a Peace Park at Messines in Flanders to commemorate the estimated 50,000 Irish people who died during World War One.

He worked closely with former UDA leader Glen Barr on the project, which was officially opened by Irish President Mary McAleese in the presence of the Queen.

Among those to attend the funeral yesterday were representatives of the Irish President Michael D Higgins and the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

They were joined by Wesley Barr, the brother of Glen Barr, who passed away last year.

Following his death, the Taoiseach led tributes, saying: "At very difficult and divisive times during the Troubles, Paddy was a steadfast opponent of violence and he consistently sought to reconcile the communities from both traditions on this island."

Mr Varadkar said Mr Harte's work developing the Peace Park "helped to lay the foundation stones of tolerance and respect which are the hallmark of the State's approach to the Decade of Centenaries".

Tánaiste Simon Coveney described the former TD as a "proud Donegal man and an exceptionally committed public representative".

Mr Coveney said that his "vision and commitment to peace and reconciliation deserves to be long remembered."

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