Statement on the death of Toddy O’Sullivan

12 December 2021

Labour Party Leader Alan Kelly TD has extended his sympathy to the family and friends of former Cork Labour Party TD Toddy O’Sullivan.

Deputy Kelly said:

“Toddy was a stalwart of the Labour Party in Cork over many decades, and great supporter of my own. He lived a long and successful life, and I am very sad to learn of his passing. I regularly sought his counsel, and he will be greatly missed by all those who worked closely with him over many years.

“As a student in UCC I got to know him very well and he was an inspiration to be around, having a deep knowledge and love for his constituents, his party and supporters. I recall many enjoyable visits to his home in the Lough down the years, and he was always so welcoming, and willing to pass on advice and support. The last time I called to him was at the outset of the leadership contest early last year.

“Cork has lost a true gentleman, and someone who always worked hard for his city. Starting from a low electoral base, Toddy worked assiduously to build the Labour Party in Cork and between the local elections of 1974 and 1979 he more than doubled his first preference vote to 1,199 in the South West ward of Cork Corporation. He went on to serve as a very successful Lord Mayor of the city he loved in 1980

“A staunch trade unionist, he was always on hand to support his colleagues in the Post Office Workers Union and was rooted in his community in the Barrack Street area in the south inner city.

“Toddy first stood for the Dáil in the 1979 Cork City by-election after the death of Patrick Kerrigan and he laid a mark immediately, doubling the Labour vote from 10.2% to 22.6%. He went on to top the poll in 1981 winning a seat in Cork North Central and was returned to the Dáil a further five times, switching to Cork South-Central in 1987 which was a huge risk at the time but an incredible win when it delivered.. He went to be elected Chair of the Parliamentary Party in 1989.

“In the Dáil, he served twice as a Minister of State, first in the Department of the Environment, and during the Rainbow Government in the Department of Tourism and Trade. Always a loyal servant of the Party, even after losing his seat in 1997, he went on to contest the 1998 by-election.

“Toddy leaves behind a distinguished record of service, nationally and locally, and will continue to be an inspiration to future generations of Labour activists in Cork.

“On behalf of the Labour Party I extend my deepest sympathies to his family, friends, supporters and local community.”

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