Former minister Austin Deasy dies after a short illness

By Political Editor Daniel McConnell

Tributes have been paid to former Fine Gael TD and minister Austin Deasy from Waterford who has died after a short illness.

He was 80.

He was the father of current TD John Deasy.

Mr Deasy was a TD for his native county from 1977 to 2002, at which stage his son succeeded him.

Former Taoiseach John Bruton said: “Austin was forthright in his views and worked hard for Irish farmers. He was a courageous politician and will be greatly missed.”

Mr Deasy was born in Dungarvan in August 1936 and was educated in Dungarvan and at University College Cork.

He was a schoolteacher and taught at St Augustine's College.

In 1967 he became a Fine Gael member of Dungarvan Urban District Council.

He was nominated to the Seanad by Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave before securing a Dail seat in 1977.

In 1982, Mr Deasy was appointed to the Cabinet as Minister for Agriculture. He remained in that position until the collapse of the government in 1987.

But a year later, he fell foul of the party leadership after he opposed the Tallaght strategy.

He resigned temporarily from the party in protest at leader Alan Dukes.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed praised his contribution to Ireland’s farming industry.

“He will be remembered fondly not only in his native Waterford but amongst the agricultural community across the country.”

Mr Deasy returned to the Fine Gael front bench in 1991 after John Bruton became leader.

He died earlier today at Waterford Regional Hospital after a short illness.

Leader of Fine Gael Leo Varadkar, said: "I wish to convey my deepest sympathies to the Deasy family on the news that Austin Deasy has passed away.

"Austin had a long career in public service and was well loved and respected by the people of Waterford whom he was proud to represent.”

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