I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of my old friend, louis j Belton.

Coming from a family that has members in the Oireachtas almost since the foundation of the state, louis brought his own distinctive style to politics.

His contributions at meetings of the Fine Gael parliamentary party were particularly noteworthy. He mixed self-deprecation humour, with the fruits of serious reflection on the political issues of the day.

He was a formidable grassroots campaigner. One of my happiest political memories is of campaigning with him in Ardagh, in the 1992 general election, when, against the national trend, Lois regained his seat.

I extend heartfelt sympathy to all the Belton family, and to the people of Longford on their great loss.

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