I was sad to learn the news that Independent TD Tony Gregory lost his battle with cancer today.
Tony was first elected as a TD in 1981 and started to set himself apart straight away by refusing to wear a tie, something he continued to this day.
He gained national prominence by negotiating the return of Charles J Haughey to power in exchange for a very beneficial and highly necessary support package for the North Inner City and Dublin in general.
The multi-million pound “Gregory deal” is now part of Irish political folklore. The Dublin Central TD received detailed written commitments from Haughey, in February 1982, which it was estimated could cost the Irish exchequer £80 million in a full year.
The written agreement included commitments to nationalise a 27-acre site in Dublin Port and Clondalkin Paper Mills. A total of £4 million was to be allocated to employ 500 extra people in the inner city, while 3,746 jobs were to be created over three years.
State funding would be provided to build 440 new houses in the constituency and another 1,600 in the rest of Dublin.
Tony was a fearless community activist who supported the Concerned Parents against Drugs group. He was an environmentalist, a Gaelgoir and an animal rights enthusiast.
Irish Politics will be the less without his influence.
I didn't agree with all of his politics and positions but there can be no denying his commitment to the North Inner City.
Tony Gregory was a beacon of integrity and honesty in a cesspit of corruption and cute-hoorism that was Dáil Eireann.
My thoughts are with his family and friends and the people of Dublin Central.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam