When people heard that Denis Lyons, a former junior minister, had passed away, they immediately thought of his dedicated commitment to Fianna Fáil, the GAA, and the Irish language.
Each had equal priority as far as he was concerned and he served them all with diligence, loyalty, and pragmatism, nationally and locally, over a long number of years.
Denis Lyons, who died aged 78 after a brief illness, resided at Coolflugh, Tower, Co Cork, and is survived by his wife Kathleen and six children.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin led the tributes to a man who had given unswerving loyalty to the party.
“Denis was a long-standing friend and colleague whose advice and comradeship I have enjoyed since we first met while I was a student at UCC.
“Denis was a tireless representative and advocate for his community and his constituency.
“This energy and commitment continued until his death — I was delighted to campaign alongside him in the recent local elections as he engaged with the people of Blarney on behalf of Bob Ryan.”
Mr Martin said Mr Lyon’s passion for Gaelic games and Irish culture was deep-rooted and was an inspiration to many people.
“He was a great representative of his community in the truest sense of that phrase and his departure leaves a gap that will be very difficult to fill,” he said.
Mr Lyons was first elected to the county council for the Cork Rural Local Electoral Area in 1974 and served for many years as Fianna Fáil’s group leader on the authority.
He was a TD for Cork North Central from 1981-92, serving as deputy party spokesman on education and on employment between 1983 and 1987.
When Fianna Fáil returned to power in 1987, he served briefly as a Minister of State for Marine before moving to the Department of Tourism and Transport.
He returned to the backbenches in a reshuffle in February 1992. He lost his seat in the general election later that year and subsequently failed to get elected to the Seanad.
Mr Lyons held various positions with Cork County GAA Board, including that of culture officer. He took a keen interest in Scór and was a member of Conradh na Gaeilge and other community associations. He also served as chairman of the South Infirmary-Victoria Hospital board of directors.
In his capacity as chairman of Gael-Taca Corcaigh, he worked with schools, businesses, and communities to promote the Irish language.
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