Updated: 12/08/15 : 05:06:12
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Shock sudden death of Seamie O'Boyle, aged 57

Special Report

SEAMIE O'BOYLE, Deputy Mayor of Sligo up to last June, has died suddenly after a heart attack.

Aged 57, the popular Northsider was driving his vehicle when he took ill last night, Tuesday.

After his vehicle hit a house in Temple Street he was taken to Sligo Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later..

Nobody else was injured in the incident which occurred around teatime. Emergency services had attended the scene in Temple Street.

Widespread shock greeted the news as it spread quickly across Sligo town -- and further afield.

The shock death of the Sligo councillor featured as a breaking news story on The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Irish Examiner and RTÉ.

Sympathy was extended to his wife Mairead and the Callaghan family by shocked colleagues and community activists.

The late Cllr O'Boyle is also survived by four adult children.

His party, People Before Profit spoke of their ''sadness'' last night and added starkly: ''We are all truly devastated.''

Tributes were lead by the Chief Executive of Sligo County Council, Ciarán Hayes.

Mr Hayes said that from his first day as a councillor, “Seamie treated everyone, fellow councillors and members of staff, with the utmost courtesy and respect.”

The Council CEO added: “He is a great loss to this Council, but more importantly, will be missed as a devoted husband and father.''

A Huge Loss

The local Save Our Cancer Services paid him special tribute: ''One of Sligo's finest,'' said Deirdre O'Sullivan.

Said her colleague Catriona McGoldrick: ''I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of one of our campaign's most loyal supporters, Clr Seamie O Boyle.

''Seamie was at every event or protest march over the last eight years and nothing was too much trouble for him.

''Your passing is a huge loss to our community, your friends and colleagues,'' she said.

Sligo Municipal District Mayor Thomas Healy paid tribute to Mr O’Boyle’s work for the community, especially in the Forthill area.

“He will be sadly missed by his community where he was loved and respected,” said Mr Healy.


Paying tribute to the late Cllr O’Boyle today his friend and council colleague Cllr Declan Bree said “Seamie O’Boyle’s sudden and untimely death has stunned the people of this community.

“Seamie was larger than life in every sense of the word.  He was a political activist who did not put on “airs and graces” and who consistently stood by the ordinary people of this community.

“He contested his first election in 2009 when he stood as an independent candidate for the Borough Council in the North Ward area and despite the fact that he only entered the race at a very late stage, he almost succeeded in being elected.  

“I shared many platforms with him in the anti austerity campaigns of recent years particularly in the movement against the property tax and in the Right2Water campaign.

“It is ironic and poignant that when Seamie collapsed at the wheel of his van he was actually on his way to meet with Chris MacManus and I to prepare plans for Sligo’s participation in the forthcoming Right2Water national demonstration which will be taking place in Dublin in two weeks time.  

“Following his election last year Seamie became fully immersed in the activities of the Council.  He had a deep sense of commitment to his constituents and to the community he represented and he was very anxious to ensure that their interests were protected and enhanced.   

“In the period since he was elected he quickly became aware of how the local government system functioned and he was particularly conscious of its shortcomings and how it failed to serve the interests of his constituents.  

“Time and time again he shared with me his huge sense of frustration with the lack of local authority housing and with the growing housing crises in Sligo.  He was also very frustrated with the Councils lack of resources for funding local community initiatives.

“In a real sense he was just settling in a member of the Council with a huge amount to offer and it’s so terribly tragic that he has been taken from us.    

“As an activist Seamie was particularly concerned for the rights of working people, their families and the marginalized.

“With Seamie O’Boyle’s passing Sligo has lost a hard working public representative. His many supporters and friends in his Northside heartland have lost an exceptional and good neighbour; and his heartbroken family has lost a devoted husband and father.   I deem it a privilege to have campaigned by his side and to have served with him as a member of the Council.” said Cllr Bree.

Cllr Seamie O'Boyle (2nd Right) delivering a Right2Water protest letter to the Government
Cabinet as they met at Lissadell House. He was pictured with Chris MacManus,
Cllr Declan Bree and PBP general election candidate Nigel Gallagher


All Truly Devastated

Said his own party: ''At this tragic time, People Before Profit Sligo would like to express our deepest sadness at the loss of Councillor Seamus O'Boyle.

''We are all truly devastated. Seamie was a true fighter for the people of Sligo.

''He was the most honourable, caring and kind man anyone could know.

''Our deepest sympathy are with Seamie's family at this time,'' said the party for whom he won an historic first ever seat in Sligo just 15 months ago.

Honest and Fortright

Rosaleen O'Grady, Chair of Sligo County Council, said he had his roots in one of Sligo’s oldest communities.

''He served them with great distinction and will be sorely missed by his family and many friends,'' she said.

Tom MacSharry, solicitor and ex Mayor of Sligo, described him as ''one of the most honest and forthright politicians I have ever met -- and I met many.''

Left: Tom MacSharry (FF) and Seamus O'Boyle congratulate each other on their unopposed election to Leader and Deputy Leader of The Sligo Municipal Area.in June 2014.

Chris MacManus of Sinn Fein summed him up: ''Big in stature and big in heart.

Just seven days ago O'Boyle himself was leading the tributes in national media after the stabbing and murder of Martin (Matt) Kivlehan in Holborn Street.

Last Thursday he attended a Civic Reception at County Hall to mark Sligo's achievements at the Special Olympics in Los Angeles, the gold medals won by Margaret Carr and Thomas Connolly.

Deceased was most closely associated with local soccer and community activities in the Forthill area where he has resided for three decades.

He both played with and managed the legendary local soccer team, Glenview Stars.

Seamie O'Boyle also played under age Gaelic football, with distinction, for the Muire Naofa club, now St Mary's.

His entry into local politics for the May 2014 elections, chasing a seat on the slimmed-down Sligo County Council, surprised many people.

But he stormed to success; on polling day in his area it was Seamie O'Boyle for the Council and 'Ming' (Flanagan) for Euope in many cases.

Three-quarters of his first preference vote (FPV) came from the town area, said an analysis published on Politics.ie

He out-polled five sitting members of Sligo Borough Council, including the Mayor of Sligo, in that dramatic surge in Sligo town.

The website added that O'Boyle had also picked up transfers all over the place.

                                       Graph showing Seamie O'Boyle support

Highly Professional Campaign

Seamie O'Boyle stood in that election for the People Before Profit (PBP) party and won its first ever seat locally.

Previously in politics he had been a member of the Joint Policing Committee in Sligo.

He was one of ten candidates elected for the Sligo Municipal District in May 2014.

That electoral area added all of North Sligo to the town and environs, including Strandhill and Rosses Point.

The odds seemed to favour the bigger parties but a highly professional campaign blitzed areas with their highly organised canvass team.

In his time on Sligo County Council, Cllr O'Boyle has continued to speak out against water charges.

He was accused -- and cleared -- in court locally this year of impeding water meter installers.

He remained active in campaigns against the water charges in several areas of the Sligo Municipal District.

He was one of the public representatives present when meter installers quit Cranmore last year.

The deceased also notably highlighted the need for public housing and repairs.

Cllr O'Boyle supported the use of the d'Hondt system to ensure all ten members of Sligo Municipal District would hold office in its lifetime.

Seamie O'Boyle was named Deputy Mayor to the 2014 Mayor of Sligo, Tom MacSharry -- the first two to hold the newly created offices.

Said Tom MacSharry last night: ''It is with great shock and sadness that I learned of the passing of my good friend and colleague Seamie O'Boyle.

''Seamie was one of the most honest and forthright Politicians I have ever met and I met many!!

''My deepest heartfelt condolences to Mairead and family, Sligo has lost a great man!! RIP Seamie!,'' said his Fianna Fáil colleague on Sligo County Council.

Chris MacManus recalled: ''I’ve known Seamie O'Boyle since my teenage years.

''Have to say there are very few people as committed to his family, his community and his town as he was.

''Big in stature and big in heart, Seamie fought passionately on issues he felt directly impacted those around him.

''His passing is a blow to the wider Sligo community, especially round the ‘Hill' where he was held in high respect.

''My deepest sympathies are with Mairead and family as well as the wider Callaghan clan. Oiche mhaith, a chara,'' concluded the Sinn Fein Dail candidate.

Election Well Deserved

Senator Marc MacSharry said: ''Very sorry to hear about Seamie O Boyle, one of Sligo's most popular and best known characters in our area through the years.

''His election to Sligo County Council was well deserved and a true testament to his standing as a great Sligonian and a true community man.

''His record in representing all Sligo people since elected speaks for itself,'' Senator MacSharry added.

''A tragic loss for our county. He will be missed by all but none more so than his wife Mairead and family.''

John Perry TD said, "I was very saddened last evening to learn of the passing of Cllr Seamie O Boyle.

"Cllr O' Boyle was a committed public representative and showed great passion and energy since his election to Sligo County Council.

My thoughts and prayers are with Seamie`s wife Mairead and the O Boyle family during this very difficult time."


Funeral arrangements:

Seamie O'Boyle will repose at his home today Thursday, from 4pm to 10pm and on Friday from 2pm to 6.30pm with removal at 7.45pm to Sligo Cathedral arriving at 8.30pm.

Mass of the Resurrection at 1.30pm on Saturday with burial in Sligo Cemetery afterwards.

Family flowers only please donations in lieu if desired to the Nazareth House patient comfort fund c/o Foley & Mc Gowan Funeral home, Market Yard Sligo.