FOR THE first time since 1979 the name Eddie Wade won’t be on a ballot paper in a local election in County Limerick.
Cllr Wade wrote to Fianna Fail leader, Micheal Martin, on Tuesday to inform him that he would not be standing in the Cappamore/Kilmallock electoral area.
Cllr Wade, who has had type 1 diabetes for 13 years, made the decision on health grounds.
“I went to see my doctor in the last few days. He said you would be very foolish to contest any election. I am taking medical advice for the fist time in my life. It wasn’t an easy decision,” said Cllr Wade.
He has been elected to every council since 1979 - the last sitting councillor from that year, and is one of the longest serving of all time. He was also elected a TD from 1997 to 2002.
“I know I made the right decision. I gave it plenty of thought and your health is your wealth,” said the Cahernorry man.
The full-time politician has a number of projects he wants to get over the line before he stands down in May.
“I am very grateful to and wish to thank the people of East Limerick who have returned me in every poll since 1979; my family, some of whom have gone to their God, have been very good to me since I started aged only 29; my wonderful canvassers - they trampled ever road, boreen, alleyway and byway for me, and Noel Ryan, who nominated me in every election,” said Cllr Wade, who concluded by thanking indoor and outdoor county council staff.
“They are the best staff in Ireland,” said Cllr Wade.
Micheal Martin said Cllr Wade epitomised all that is good in a local politician.
“It is with regret that I learned of Cllr Eddie Wade’s retirement from active politics, He was a tireless worker for local communities in East Limerick and the energy and enthusiasm he displayed in helping people was admirable.
“Eddie is also a strong supporter of the GAA in Limerick and his voluntary work both for South Liberties and the Limerick County Board is well known in his local community and is very much appreciated.
“Eddie’s retirement as a Councillor will be deeply felt by Fianna Fáil in Limerick but I hope he continues to serve the party in some capacity in the future,” said the leader of Fianna Fail.
Deputy Niall Collins said Eddie has been an outstanding public representative for over 35 years.
“I want to wish Eddie all the best in his retirement. This is a personal decision which we all very much respect. Eddie has been an outstanding public representative for over 35 years, representing the people of Limerick in Dáil Éireann and Limerick County Council, and indeed serving a cathaoirleach on a number of occasions,” said Deputy Collins.
During this time Eddie was a great advocate for all in our community both young and elderly, he added.
“Eddie also used his role as public representative to help promote sport and Gaelic Games across Limerick and beyond.
“There is no doubt that in electoral terms the retirement of Eddie will be a loss to us within Fianna Fáil however we know that Eddie will use his immense influence with the public to help secure the election of other Fianna Fáil candidates.
“On a personal level I would like to thank Eddie for all his assistance and advice to me during my time working with him in Limerick County Council and in the Dáil. We in Fianna Fáil look forward to Eddie continuing to play an active role within the organisation,” said Deputy Collins.
Full tributes are expected to be paid at the next Limerick County Council meeting.
And already Cllr Wade said his supporters were talking about a party.