The late Nicky McFadden will be remembered for her warmth, her common touch, and the genuine care she had for her Westmeath constituents.
That was the view of members of Mullingar Town Council, who suspended standing orders at their March meeting on Tuesday night to pay tribute to the late councillor, senator, and TD for Fine Gael who lost her battle with motor neuron disease earlier the same day.
Elected members expressed their shock at Deputy McFadden’s passing, and spoke warmly of her contribution to the community and to politics, with Cllr Ruth Illingworth saying that Deputy McFadden had given the profession of politics a good name.
One by one councillors offered their sympathies to the McFadden family, to Nicky’s daughter and son and her sister, councillor and Mayor of Athlone, Gabrielle McFadden.
Fine Gael councillor Peter Burke, who was Deputy McFadden’s running mate in the 2007 and 2011 General Elections, said she had given her life to public service, and spoke of the tireless work she had done to raise awareness of motor neuron disease.
Deputy McFadden’s great warmth, her dedication to her job and to the people of Athlone, Longford, and Westmeath were praised by Cllr Illingworth, who said the scale of her vote in the 2011 General Election was a testament to the regard she was held in by her constituents.
She said her party colleague had fought every inch of the way against a terrible disease and had impressed everyone with her courage.
The tragedy of being too ill to make the best of the Dáil seat she had always wanted, struck Cllr Ken Glynn.
He spoke of the “legendary” battles between his party colleague Mary O’Rourke and Deputy McFadden and said she will be a significant loss to the county, and to her hometown of Athlone.
Cllr Gerry Sheridan said public life in the county is poorer for Deputy McFadden’s passing and said she cared for people and had a common touch.
This view was supported by Cllrs Detty Cornally and Bill Collentine, who said she had been a hard worker, and friendly person.
Cllr Aidan Davitt reiterated that the thoughts of all the councillors are with the McFadden family, and how admirably she had fought against her illness.
Cathaoirleach Pat Collins said it was very, very sad that Deputy McFadden had been struck down in the prime of her life and described her death at 51 as a tragedy.
On behalf of Westmeath County Council, Declan Leonard extended his sympathy to the McFadden family and to Cllr Gabrielle McFadden.
He said Deputy McFadden had done her job well for the people of Athlone.
Finally, a minute’s silence was observed in memory of Nicky McFadden.