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‘A great friend, a great councillor, and a great loss’ – Tributes paid to former Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council

Tom Mulhall
Tom Mulhall

Tributes have been paid all day at Laois County Council to former Cathaoirleach, Mr Tom Mulhall, who sadly passed away on Monday.

Mr Mulhall (71) from Emo was a Fine Gael councillor from 2009-2021, and was Cathaoirleach in 2016 and 2017.

Mr Mulhall served the Graiguecullen-Portarlington Municipal District, whose members paid tribute the late councillor at their monthly meeting this afternoon.

Cathaoirleach Ben Brennan, announced the meeting would be deferred as a show of respect.

Cllr Brennan said Mr Mulhall was “a great friend, a great politician, and will be a great loss.”

Cllr Aisling Moran offered her condolences to Mr Mulhall’s family, saying he was a “great worker.”

“I knew Tom from being in the Council with my Dad,” Cllr Moran said. “People just spoke so highly of him.”

Cllr Aidan Mullins said Mr Mulhall was “a dedicated and committed community representative.”

“He did more hours than anyone in this Council… and he represented his community very well.

“He left nothing on the pitch – its a sad loss.”

Cllr Paschal McEvoy echoed those sentiments, saying Mr Mulhall was “the hardest-working councillor in Laois.”

“He gave it more than anyone and he was happiest when he was helping people.

“It was sad when he had to leave, because he was really enjoying the job – he was truly passionate about helping people.

“He fought his corner all day every day,” Cllr McEvoy said, before paying tribute to Mr Mulhall’s family, who he said “looked after Tom very well.”

Tom Mulhall
Tom Mulhall

Cllr Padraig Fleming sympathised with the Mulhall family, saying Mr Mulhall was “a strong individual who followed the issues in detail.”

“He was well able for the rough and tumble of political life, and he enjoyed it.”

Cllr PJ Kelly, who took over Mr Mulhall’s seat in the Council said “Tom was passionate about anything he ever did – politics and of course farming.”

“He loved this place (the County Council) and the people working in it; he loved the banter here.

“He was an Emo man through his back bone, he loved it top to bottom.

“He was colossal for the area he represented and I have no shame in saying this, but I will never fill his boots, never,” an emotional Cllr Kelly said.

Mr Gerry Murphy, Head of Finance expressed his sympathies on behalf of the County Council.

“He took his role very seriously and and worked tirelessly for his area,” Mr Murphy said.

“He was a gentleman and a pleasure to work with.”

The tributes echoed those made earlier in the morning at the March meeting of the Portlaoise Municipal District.

Cathaoirleach Catherine Fitzgerald began by offering deepest sympathies from the District to Mr Mulhall’s family.

Cllr Willie Aird spoke fondly about Mr Mulhall, who he called “a true friend and a true gentleman.”

“Tom was a really competitive councillor and he did very well last election,” Cllr Aird said.

“He loved his time in the Council.

“And he was a great sheep farmer as well before he got into politics and he did great work for the IFA.

“Tom was a great sports man as well with his club, Emo, and a great community man as well.”

Cllr Aird also paid tribute to Mr Mulhall’s wife, Brigid.

Tom Mulhall (Fine Gael) elected at the Laois Count Centre.
Picture: Alf Harvey/hrphoto.ie

Cllr Barry Walsh said despite not knowing Mr Mulhall personally, he knew he was very well respected in the community.

Cllr John Joe Fennelly called Mr Mulhall a great councillor.

“If ever there was something that needed to be said, Tom was the man to say it,” Cllr Fennelly said.

“He will be sadly missed by his family and the wider community.”

Cllr Thomasina Connell called Mr Mulhall “an amazing worked for his local community.”

“He was a huge support to me and he will be sadly missed.

Cllr Marie Tuohy offered her condolences to Mr Mulhall’s family.

“Tom loved Emo,” Cllr Tuohy said. “It’s always sad when someone who loves working for the community has to take a step back.”

Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley also sent her sympathies to the Mulhall family, saying Mr Mulhall was “a hard worker with a great reputation.”

Finally, Council Director of Services, Mr Simon Walton said Mr Mulhall was “focused, dedicated, and fair minded. He will be sadly missed.”

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