‘Quintessential FF stalwart’ Peter Callanan dies

ONE of Co Cork’s longest- serving local and national politicians, Senator Peter Callanan died yesterday.

The Fianna Fáil representative, who was in his 70s, spent 30 years in public life, with the past 10 years in Seanad Éireann.

He served on Cork County Council from 1979 until 2004, when he was forced to step down under the dual mandate rule which prevents members of the Oireachtas serving on local councils.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen yesterday paid tribute to his party colleague.

“Peter was a very honourable and loyal public servant. He served the people of Cork with great dedication and commitment.

“From his first election to Cork County Council in 1979 he was re-elected at every local election. He was well regarded throughout his local community for his hard work and warm personality,” he said.

“As a three-time member of Seanad Éireann he was a very strong champion of farmers’ rights.”

Mr Callanan’s party colleague for many years in the Bandon Electoral Area, Cllr Alan Coleman last night described him as the “quintessential Fianna Fáil stalwart”.

Mr Coleman, the party leader in County Hall, said: “Senator Callanan was a staunch defender of theparty and a great upholder of the traditional values of Fianna Fáil.”

Born in Castlefreke, west of Clonakilty, Mr Callanan lived and farmed all of his married life at Ballymountain, Innishannon.

Married to Sheila Harrington, the couple have four sons, Gerard, Liam, David and Denis and two daughters, Deirdre and Fionnuala.

Mr Callanan served on a number of joint committees in Leinster House. His particular interests were agriculture, food and marine. A fisheries spokesman , he was re-elected to the Senate in 2007. His main disappointment was failing to win a Dáil seat in the 1980s.

Mr Coleman, who fought three campaigns with Mr Callanan to secure two seats in the Bandon electoral area in 1991, 1999 and 2004, said his former council colleague was a huge loss to Fianna Fáil when he left County Hall.

Fellow West Cork Senator, Labour’s Michael McCarthy described him as a “good friend and colleague”..

Funeral details will befinalised later today and published tomorrow.

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