DEATHS OF TWO LOUTH POLITICAL HEAVYWEIGHTS
LOUTH political circles were saddened last week with the news of the deaths two long serving county councillors, Eddie Filgate and Jim Lennon.
The former was also a Louth TD for Fianna Fail, while the later was also very well known in Louth GAA circles following his time as a referee and County Board Chairman.
Both men came from Louth Village and were both very well respected and regarded.
Eddie Filgate, who passed away in his 101st year, was one of three Fianna Fail candidates elected to the 21st Dail in 1977 General Election returning to Leinster House with former minister Padraig Faulkner and Joe Farrell. He was re-elected twice, at the 1981 and the February 1982 general elections, but didn’t contest the November 1982 general election.
One of 11 children, he lived in his native village of Louth, next to the site of the house he grew up in. He is survived by his wife Eilish and children Philomena, Ursula, Eamon, and Joan, sonsin-law, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, great-granddaughter, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends. He was predecased by his son Anthony.
Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach paid tribute to the late Eddie Filgate , saying: ‘I had the privilege of working closely with Eddie during his Council and Dáil election campaigns. He was a dedicated public representative who was proud to work on behalf of community’s right across Louth. I had the opportunity to attend his 101st birthday last September and he retained a keen interest in local affairs and national politics.’
‘His first election in 1977 represented Fianna Fáil’s greatest success in Louth and this is something which he was always proud of. The double ‘F’ was the traditional logo for Fianna Fáil at that time, but it was the triple ‘F’ logo which many will remember in Louth during the 1977 election when Filgate, Faulkner and Farrell ran an incredible campaign. Fianna Fáil returned three seats out of a total of four during that election.
‘Eddie was proud of his roots and lived most of his life in his native village of Louth, near Dundalk. When he married his wife Elish they lived next to the site of the house he grew up in. Eddie was one of eleven children himself and he and his wife had five children.
‘ The constituents of Louth were always the top priority for him during his time in the Dáil and his many years on Louth County Council. He was a great community activist all his life and also served on many subsidiary bodies of the Local Authority including the local Louth VEC Committee and the Health Board. He served locally and nationally with great pride.
‘In his early days he was a Sales Manager for Cement Roadstone in North Dublin and worked closely with Charlie Haughey. He was a great historian and was happy to recount stories from years gone by.
‘Eddie will be sadly missed by all that knew him. I would like to offer my sympathies person- ally and on behalf of the Fianna Fáil party to Eddie’s family.
‘Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin added, “Eddie is fondly remembered by all that worked with him in both the Oireachtas and on the ground in County Louth. He entered Dáil Éireann at a time of great volatility and fought three General Elections within the space of five years. He had a strong sense of civic duty and was proud to represent the people of Louth. On behalf of the Fianna Fáil party I would like to extend my sympathies to his family and wide network of friends.
Fellow Louth village resident Jim Lennon had also served on Louth County Council. He was co-opted onto the local authority after the death of his brother Joe in 1990 During that time he served as chairman from 2006/7. He was also widely known in GAA circles as a referee and County Board Chairman,
He was predeceased by his parents Joseph and Susan and siblings Joe, Patricia, Winnie and Maeve. He is survived by his sister Ita McKeown.
Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach has expressed his sympathy at the passing of former Councillor Jim Lennon.
‘Jim was co-opted on to the Council in 1990 after the death of his late brother Joe Lennon,’ he recalled, ‘He won his first Council Election in 1991 the same year as myself. We were both in the same electoral area for more than 10 years until the new boundaries were introduced.’
‘We would have worked very closely together despite our party differences. It was always a pleasure to work with Jim and he always had the interests of his community at heart. He also served as Chairman of the Council from 2006-2007.’