Veteran activist and politician Sean Dublin Bay Loftus died today, aged 82.
The father of three was an environmentalist, barrister, former Lord Mayor of Dublin and a Dublin North East TD in the early 1980s.
But he was best known for changing his name by deed poll in his tireless and successful campaigning against repeated attempts to develop Dublin Bay.
Over the last four decades he spearheaded battles against plans for an oil refinery, underground gas caverns and infills.
He was also involved in the campaign against the controversial Wood Quay development in Dublin city centre in the 1970s.
Lord Mayor of Dublin Gerry Breen, who was a friend and colleague of Mr Loftus on the Dublin Bay Watch committee, said the city had lost an ally.
“Sean was an environmentalist before the word was invented,” he said. “The worst excesses of Ireland over the past 40 years have been avoided in Dublin Bay thanks to Sean.”
Mr Breen said he met Sean only a few weeks ago to celebrate their latest victory against Dublin Port Company’s plans to fill in 52 acres of the bay, which was rejected by planners last month.
“Although sick, he was delighted,” he said. “Sean’s life was his family and Dublin Bay. His wife Una’s greatest challenge was to get him to take it easy – even up until recently.”
Mr Loftus was an elected member of Dublin City Council for 25 years and served as an Independent TD for Dublin North East during the short-lived government between 1981 and 1982.
At that time he had changed his name to Sean Alderman Dublin Bay Rockall Loftus to highlight territorial claims to a rocky islet several hundred kilometres off the coast of Co Donegal.
A law lecturer in Dublin Institute of Technology, he was also honorary legal adviser of the preservation organisation Dublin Bay Watch.
Mr Loftus, who lived in Clontarf, died in hospital after a lengthy illness.
He is survived by his wife Una and children Muireann, Fiona and Ruairi.
Environment Minister and Green Party leader John Gormley said he was deeply saddened by the loss of a man of deep principle and conviction.
“Sean was a gentleman, always kindly and encouraging and a true environmental pioneer,” he said.
“He was fighting the good fight right up to the time of his death. I will always remember the encouraging notes he wrote to me in recent years when I became Minister for the Environment…On a personal level, I will miss his encouragement.”
Labour Party councillor Aodhan O Riordain said: “Sean was a tireless activist and a man of endless commitment when it came to local and national issues, and he will be greatly missed.”