Belfast Telegraph

Taoiseach pays tribute to 'pivotal' public servant Maurice Hayes

The Taoiseach has led tributes to "pivotal" former public servant Dr Maurice Hayes after his death aged 90.

Dr Hayes helped change the course of policing through his work with the Patten Commission, which overhauled the RUC, and he brought about lasting change as the first Catholic appointed as Northern Ireland Ombudsman, Leo Varadkar said.

He was also permanent secretary of the department of health at Stormont, and the Taoiseach said his role as assistant secretary in the power-sharing Executive in the 1970s helped pave the way for the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

He added: "Dr Hayes was a pivotal figure in Northern Ireland and also made a significant contribution to politics across the island."

Dr Hayes was born in Co Down in 1927.

He held many senior roles in the civil service and assisted Lord Patten as he drew up recommendations for far-reaching policing reforms including the renaming of the RUC as the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

He was nominated by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to the Irish Senate in 1997.

Mr Varadkar added: "Dr Hayes took an active role in the politics on this part of the island following his appointment as Senator.

"I also recall his role in Tallaght Hospital reviews, and his wise stewardship as chair of the Forum on Europe.

"Many will also remember Dr Hayes as a committed champion of the Irish language.

"He made a contribution in so many ways and at so many levels of Irish society." President Michael D Higgins said his approach at the Forum was widely praised by those from all political persuasions.

"He brought a strong commitment to a pluralist and inclusive vision of society to his work in Seanad Eireann and as Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.

"Interested in the Irish abroad as well as at home, he was a distinguished chairman of The Ireland Funds, a lifelong supporter of sports and the Irish language, and served as a member of the board of directors of Independent News & Media."

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