There is widespread sadness across Donegal following the death of county councillor Bernard McGuinness.
The Culdaff man passed away in hospital in Galway yesterday.
Mr McGuinness, who was 77, is survived by his wife Jan and the couple’s five adult children.
Bernard was first elected to Donegal County Council in 1979, and has been returned to office at each subsequent election since that time.
A dedicated member of the Fine Gael party, Mr McGuinness campaigned on many issues for the people of Inishowen and Donegal.
He said “Waking up with a heavy heart this morning after learning late last night about the sad passing of my friend and colleague, Councillor Bernard Mc Guinness, Culdaff.
Bernard was my political mentor for more than two decades and at all times I knew my place – Bernard was the boss!
“At the time I entered politics Bernard had already clocked up 20 years of political experience having entered politics in 1979.
“He wore his blue shirt and County Council tie with pride and always fought his corner for his County and beloved Inishowen – with a particular fondness for the Northern part of the peninsula.
“In his last two terms he was a father figure to many new generation councillors, a role he adopted with great enthusiasm.
“In Bernard’s 42 years in politics he continued to keep his politics on the basics with his no nonsense common sense approach to all challenges.
“Bernard was an honourable decent man and a Fine Gael man to the back bone. His point was never made in half measure and persistence dominated every engagement, and he also managed to calm situations with his humour and wit.
“Bernard’s appetite for politics never wained in the past two years – he embraced zoom during Covid and while he was out in his garden gathering his potatoes last week no doubt he was thinking on the many political issues of the day.
“While I’ve focused on the politics, it’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his political career – Bernard’s name has been on general election tickets, he has been Chairperson of Donegal County Council, Chairperson of North West Cross Border group and is current Cathaoirleach of Iniseoin Municipal District. He has had a distinguished career in politics and was an outstanding representative of the people.
“I know so many people will be so sad for Bernard this Sunday morning – Bernard’s colleagues in the shop, his colleagues in the bar, his Fine Gael colleagues and loyal team of supporters and, of course, his family.
Bernard talked about Jan and his children all the time and he was also a doting Grand-dad. To Jan, Maria, Johnny, Jean, Ross, Gregory and the grand-children, my deepest sympathy at this very difficult time.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
Codladh samh Bernard – rest easy, we will miss you.”