Limerick pays tribute to former mayor Sadlier

Tributes have been paid to Dick Sadlier, a founding member of the Progressive Democrats, who showed “courage” in helping attempt to broker peace between rival gangs while he was mayor of his native Limerick.

Limerick pays tribute to former mayor Sadlier

Tributes have been paid to Dick Sadlier, a founding member of the Progressive Democrats, who showed “courage” in helping attempt to broker peace between rival gangs while he was mayor of his native Limerick.

Mr Sadlier, 68, who passed away yesterday following a short illness, was mayor three times, including from 2001-2002 and 2003-2004 — at the height of the Limerick gang feud which led to over 20 killings.

He first became mayor in 1994, as the first chaiman of the Progressive Democrats party in the old Limerick East constituency, having been first elected to Limerick City Council in 1991.

In March 2004, during his second mayoral term, and having defected to Fianna Fáil, he was approached by then junior minister for justice, Willie O’Dea, to accompany him to a meeting in a city hotel to help mediate peace talks between rival gangs.

Those talks were attended by leaders of the Dundon McCarthy/Ryan gang, as well as the Collopy gang. The Keane gang, who were closely associated with the Keane clan, did not attend, however.

Mr O’Dea yesterday said Mr Sadlier was “very brave” to have attended the meeting.

“It took guts for him to come into that meeting,” he said. “I told him I’d understand if he didn’t want to come, but he said he felt it was for the good of Limerick, and that it might help reduce the tension and the violence.

“I was approached to intercede between them, to prevent them shooting each other, and to prevent innocent people getting caught in the crossfire.

“I spoke to the police and told them what was happening and I brought Dick along, as a witness who could verify what actually happened at the meeting.

“There are very few people, even if they were mayor, who would have wanted to participate in a meeting like that.

Mr Sadlier’s political roots were in Fianna Fáil, but he helped launch the Progressive Democrats until he resigned from the party in 1998, after the leadership dismissed a proposal from him calling for a Fianna Fáil/PD merger.

Retired state solicitor for Limerick Michael Murray, who was a personal friend of Mr Sadlier, said that he had been a “man of commendable integrity” with “a steadfast loyalty to his own high standards”.

“He very often stuck to his guns in a way that wasn’t always popular,” he added. “He certainly didn’t follow the popular line.”

Mr Sadlier is survived by his wife Mary, son Eoghan and daughter Aoife.

He will be buried Wednesday in Kilmurry Cemetery, Castletroy.

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