Tributes have been paid today to Limerick councillor Jerry O'Dea who passed away during the night at the age of 55.
Cllr O'Dea, a well-known businessman who owned a bar on Mulgrave Street in the city, is believed to have suffered a "medical episode" after finishing work early on Saturday morning.
It is understood the Fianna Fáil councillor, serving the Limerick City East constituency, was due to be elected Mayor of Limerick at the local authority’s annual meeting next Thursday.
Cllr O'Dea was also a local representative of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) and served as chairman of the local VFI.
He was first elected to Limerick City and County Council in 2014 and re-elected again in 2019.
During his political career, he served as Mayor of the Limerick Metropolitan District from 2015 to 2016 and chairperson of the Limerick Milk Market as well as on several committees.
Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin led tributes to Cllr O'Dea.
He praised the Limerick man's deep commitment to his people and his city.
"Jerry was a proud Limerick city man and an active supporter of a wide array of city sports clubs, community groups and charities," said Mr Martin.
"On my own behalf, and on behalf of the Fianna Fáil organisation, I extend my deepest condolences to Jerry’s family and friends. May he rest in peace."
Cllr Daniel Butler, the current mayor of Limerick City and County, expressed his "shock and sadness" after learning of Cllr O'Dea's passing.
"It is very difficult to get your head around such tragic news," he said.
“Since being elected, Jerry prioritised working with communities right across Limerick to help them develop, as he believed that a stronger and better Limerick was built from the ground up.
"Sporting and local groups were central to this. They will all miss his important advice and guidance.”
Cllr Butler added: "Our thoughts are with Jerry’s family and friends and his party colleagues at this terrible time."
Treaty United FC paid tribute to Cllr O'Dea on social media, saying: "Jerry was a great sponsor of ours and promoter of League of Ireland and was a publican across from the Market's Field stadium.
"He was also a great friend of the @LFCBlueArmy."
It is with great sadness we have been informed of the death of Jerry o Dea. Jerry was a great sponsor of ours and promoter of League of Ireland and was a publican across from the Market's Field stadium. He was also a great friend of the @LFCBlueArmy. Ar dheis de go raibh a anam pic.twitter.com/qLb9VJ5p7O— Treaty United FC (@TreatyUnitedFC) June 25, 2022
A statement from Limerick City and County Council said as a mark of respect the Irish flag will be flown at half-mast at corporate buildings in Merchant’s Quay and Dooradoyle.
A special meeting of the council will also take place next week.
Cllr O’Dea is predeceased by his mother Margaret and survived by his father John Joe, children Catherine and JD and their mother Sinead, his brother Andrew, sisters Siobhan and Eileen, his wider family and many friends.
No funeral arrangements have been made available yet.