TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern yesterday led tributes to former Communist Party of Ireland leader Michael O’Riordan who passed away yesterday.
Aged 88, Mr O’Riordan was one of only two remaining Irishmen who fought against General Franco’s fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War.
In a statement yesterday, Mr Ahern expressed regret at the death of Mr O’Riordan, saying he had conveyed his good wishes to the survivors of the International Brigades when they held their AGM last year.
Mr Ahern described Mr O’Riordan as a “fearless fighter for the labour movement throughout his life” and paid tribute to “one of those who were willing to make an enormous sacrifice in the fight for democracy in Spain in the 1930s”.
Communist Party of Ireland general secretary Eugene McCartan said Mr O’Riordan personified “the best anti-imperialist traditions of the Irish people. The Communist Party of Ireland is saddened by his passing, but we are also proud of the huge contribution he made to our party, to the Irish working class and to the cause of socialism and of his legacy of unselfish sacrifice in the cause of the Irish and international working class,” he said.
Former Labour leader Ruairi Quinn said Mr O’Riordan “stood out against the tide of Irish conservatism and clerical domination that kept Ireland backward and isolated in the 1930s, 40s and 50s”.
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said: “Michael O’Riordan was politically active his entire life and an inspiration to all those who knew him. He was an active republican, internationalist and communist and a committed Gaelgeoir.”
Irish Congress of Trade Unions general secretary David Begg also paid tribute. “Michael was someone who selflessly dedicated himself to improving the lot of working people,” he said.
Mr O’Riordan is survived by his son Manus and daughter Brenda.
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