Gus O'Driscoll with Des O'Malley Picture: Keith Wiseman
FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has hailed Gus O'Driscoll, who died this week, as a "very distinguished Mayor of Limerick".
Tributes have been rolling in for the former Mayor and long-serving councillor.
The well-known publican, who ran the Corbally Bar, was Mayor in 1971 and 1989 and a life time member of the Fine Gael party.
Denis 'Gus' O'Driscoll, of Corbally, died peacefully at University Hospital Limerick this Tuesday, surrounded by his loving family. Leading the tributes, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan described him as a “great councillor”.
“He was a good friend of mine. He was a very distinguished Mayor of Limerick, and he was very respected right through the city and in his own ward, and he had a great understanding of business.
“And I would like to express my sympathy to his wife and to his family.”
The popular former councillor was elected Limerick's first citizen in 1971, and also served as president of the Munster Branch and a trustee of Shannon RFC.
The club said in a post on Facebook: “Not only was Gus a truly great clubman, he was a Trustee of our club and had a lifelong dedication to Shannon.”
When first elected, he called for a "full-blown" university in Limerick with a powers to "grant degrees in a broad range of faculties". Mayor Kieran O'Hanlon said it was with "great sadness" that he had heard of Gus' passing. "I served with Gus on Limerick City Council from 1991 to 1999. I remember him as a dedicated councillor, committed to Limerick.”
Fine Gael senator Kieran O’Donnell said that he “was hugely popular as a publican and politician, and he left his own mark on all aspects of Limerick life”.
The current Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Kieran O'Hanlon said it was with "great sadness" that he had heard of Gus' passing.
"I served with Gus on Limerick City Council from 1991 to 1999. I remember him as a dedicated councillor, committed to Limerick," he said.
"He came from a business background, adding a good balance to the council. He led the campaign to retain Barrington’s Hospital and was instrumental in establishing the Civic Week Festival, which was held for the first time in March 1972.
"Gus was very well liked and popular. He was devoted to his family and loved Shannon Rugby. My sympathies and the sympathies of the people of Limerick go to Gus’s wife Marie, sons Denis and Dermot, daughter Mary, sister Phil and his beloved grandchildren Lauren, Tommy, Cian, Denis, Paddy, Conor, Shane, Emily and Sarah."
The Mayor added that the flag would fly at half mast at council offices and a special council meeting will take place this Friday.
Labour TD Jan O'Sullivan paid tribute to him "for his dedicated service to Limerick as Mayor and as a member of the City Council for many years.
"I represented what was then Ward 2 along with Gus for more than a decade and saw his commitment at close hand, and the leadership he showed on issues that affected the city, the ward and particularly the Corbally area," said the former education minister.
"He was an impressive speaker on the Council and wherever he represented the people of Limerick. No issue of concern to his constituents was too big or too small for him to take up and pursue.
"Gus’ passion for sport and particularly Shannon RFC is also well recognised. My sympathy goes to Marie, Mary, Dennis, Dermot and his extended family."
Gus O'Driscoll will repose at Thompson's Funeral Home this Thursday from 5pm, with removal at 7.30pm to St Mary's Church, Athlunkard Street. Funeral Mass Friday at 11am, with burial afterwards in the Mount St Lawrence Cemetery.