Tributes pour in for Fianna Fail Cllr Damien O'Reilly who died suddenly, aged 40
Glowing tributes have been paid to Cllr Damien O'Reilly following his sudden death earlier today. The chairman of the Ratoath Municipal District Council was 40.
The Fianna Fáil councillor, who topped the poll in the 2019 Local Elections, took ill this morning, and is understood to have been on his way to seek medical attention when his car left the road near Dunboyne.
Cllr Reilly, who was also chairman of the Louth Meath Education and Training Board, worked as a parliamentary assistant to Senator Aidan Davitt of Westmeath in Leinster House.
Minister for Sport and party colleague, Thomas Byrne TD said he was "absolutely shocked and saddened by the incredibly untimely death of Cllr O’Reilly".
"Damien worked so hard for his community and never stopped trying to help people. While a proud Dunboyne man, Damien diligently represented people in areas like Moynalvey, Kilcloon and right across south Meath and the Ratoath Municipal District.
"Damien was held in such high regard by his community and it is devastating to see a young life and a bright political career cut so short. His loss will be very keenly felt on Meath County Council, in Fianna Fáil and within his community. He was an outstanding chair of the Ratoath Municipal District and the Louth Meath Education and Training Board.
"My thoughts are with Damien’s partner, Lisa, their baby Carly, Lisa's son Kyle, Damien's mother Phil and Damien’s family, friends and colleagues."
In a staement this eveningh from An Cathaoirleach of Meath Co Council, Cllr Tommy Reilly and Chief Executive, Fiona Lawless said: "It is with deep regret and profound sadness that we have learned of the untimely death of our dear friend and colleague, Fianna Fáil Councillor Damien O’Reilly, who passed away earlier today. Damien was a highly respected and valued member of Meath Co Council. He was very committed in his role as a councillor and provided an outstanding service to the citizens of County Meath. Damien was deeply honored in June of this year, when he was again elected Cathaoirleach of Ratoath Municipal District.
"Damien was devoted to his family, and our thoughts and prayers are with his partner Lisa, his children Carlie and Kyle, his mother Phil, and his wider circle of friends and colleagues at this sad time."
Books of condolence will be open in the following buildings at:
Buvinda House, Navan on Monday September 18th at 10.00am
Dunshaughlin Civic Offices on Monday September 18th at 11.00am.
Dunboyne Library on Monday September 18th at 11.00am
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
First elected in the 2014 local elections, he had been involved in Fianna Fail since he was 16, and was the youngest ever chairman of the Dunboyne Cumann.
A financial services professional with an honours bachelor degree in business studies from the Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown, he also had a masters in strategy and innovation from NUI Maynooth and had just recently graduated in engineering from the University of Limerick.
His passing comes less than a week after that of his father-in-law, Tony O'Malley, of Moynalvey, father of his wife, Lisa. They have one child, Carly and live near Mullagh Cross.
The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee said Cllr O'Reily's death had "stunned all of us who knew and liked him in Co Meath."
"Damien has been a capable, effective, hugely popular and successful public representative. We worked constructively on a range of issues, in the Dunboyne area in particular and he was somone who always had a smile for you. Damien wanted nothing but the best for the community. I am devastated for him, his partner and daughter and for his family and many many close friends."
May he rest in peace.
Former Meath TD and Dunboyne resident, John Bruton, former taoiseach, stated: "I was really shocked to learn of the sudden death this morning of Dunboyne’s local Fianna Fail councillor, Damien O'Reilly.
"Damien was a totally dedicated public representative. He was seen and heard , whenever issues affecting Dunboyne arose. He had a promising political career in front of him. He was a candidate for nomination by his party in the General Election. He had just commenced study for qualification as a barrister. He was a popular, friendly and intelligent person."
Dunshaughlin Councillor Gerry O’Connor said he was in “total shock” at the news of Cllr O’Reilly’s passing.
“I am in total shock at the sad news of my friend and councillor colleague Cllr Damien O'Reilly passing this morning . My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this terrible time,” Cllr O’Connor said.
Clr Paddy Meade described Cllr O'Reilly as someone "who worked with us all for the benefit of the county".
"In 2014, Damien and I were elected as Meath's two youngest councillors. We lived at complete opposite ends of the county, we were in oppossing parties, FG v FF, even urban v rural location and yet seldom a meeting passed without a laugh and agreement.
Last Friday Damien, Cllr David Gilroy and I had a meeting in Dublin, together we represented Meath on a national planning committee, I texted him during the meeting to check that he was okay for backing two motions, and he simply responded, "100%" as he was a Meath man who worked with us all for the benefit of the county and so his passing is a loss for one and all across the chamber and county."
Sinn Fein spokesperson for Transport Darren O'Rourke said offered his and his party's deepest condolences to the family and friends of Cllr Damien O’Reilly and to his supporters & colleagues in Fianna Fáil.
"Damien lived & breathed community. He was a trojan worker. He is gone far too young. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis."
Cllr O'Reilly was one of the driving forces behind the Darkness into Light Fairyhouse events, raising vital funds for Pieta House. A post on their facebook page read:
"The saddest news reaching us today that we have lost a very dear friend in Damien O’Reilly. Anyone who had the pleasure to cross paths with him will know the true gent he was. He would be the first person to help you out and always followed through on every promise. To his family, his mother, wife Lisa their daughter and all Damien’s friends we express our sincerest condolences. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam."
Cllr Sharon Tolan expressed her shock at the passing of her colleague. Cllr Tolan and Cllr O'Reilly were part of the council delegation that reprsented Meath in New York last March for the St Patrick's Day celebrations.
"I had the pleasure of getting to know him on a personal level over the last 10 years. He was someone I always found easy to sit next to at a dinner, or approach warmly at an event. He was a funny, warm and friendly guy who always said it like it was.
We had the best of fun when we went to New York this year to represent our county for St Patrick’s Day. We walked and talked the length and breadth of it, and he absolutely loved the moment we met Bill Clinton. He held his family, friends and community in high regard and was a devoted son, partner and father. I’m so very sorry for his loss and will miss his banter, company and even advice. I can’t imagine the grief his family and friends are feeling. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Until we meet again Damo."