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File photo of Emmet Stagg in 2013. Mark Stedman/

Former long-serving Labour TD Emmet Stagg dies age 79

Stagg served as a TD in the Kildare and Kildare North constituencies for 29 years, from 1987 to 2016.

THE DEATH HAS occurred of the long-serving former Labour Party TD  Emmet Stagg, at the age of 79, after a long illness.

Stagg served as a TD in the Kildare and Kildare North constituencies for 29 years, from 1987 to 2016.

In that time, he twice served as a minister of state in the Rainbow Coalition Government, made up of Fine Gael, Labour and Democratic Left.

He was Minister of State at the Department of the Environment from 1993 to 1994 and later Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Energy and Communications from 1994 to 1997.

Stagg also served as Labour Party Chief Whip from 2007 to 2016, and as Deputy Government Chief Whip from 2011 to 2016. He lost his seat in the 2016 general election, when Labour suffered heavy losses after serving as junior partners in the Fine Gael-led Government. 

He ran for election again in 2020, but failed to regain his seat.

President Michael D Higgins led the tributes to Stagg, saying he would be remembered “for his generosity and kindness towards all of his colleagues, and indeed for his respect for people in all parties”. 

“Emmet embodied the spirit of the Labour Party in its best sense. This was delivered in his weekly and daily service to his constituents, where he was one of the most hardworking TDs that I can remember in my time in Dáil Éireann,” the President said.

“Indeed, no one could keep up with the pace at which Emmet worked for his constituents during his 29 years of unbroken service as a TD from 1987 to 2016.”

The President said it was a particular privilege to share an office with Stagg while he served in the Dáil, and said he often shared his love of gardening and fishing with his colleagues. 

I will remember Emmet as one of my closest friends in Leinster House, he will be deeply missed.

The President extended his deepest sympathies to his wife Mary, his children Gillian and Henry, all his family, colleagues and many friends.

Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik also paid tribute to Stagg, saying he played “a central role in the Party and in the internal debates within it”.

“During the 1980’s as a significant voice on the left of the Party he articulated positions often in confrontation with the leadership.

“He was also a great mentor to me when I first joined the Party as a student in the late 1980′s and was always very supportive of Labour Youth within the Party.

Canvassing in Kildare with Emmet was a really positive experience – he was hugely popular in his community and consistently championed the needs of those facing inequality and disadvantage.

“Emmet was a pillar of Labour politics, both in Leinster House, and in Kildare, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

“He was kind and considerate, and maintained a keen interest in Labour politics even after leaving the Dáil.

Those of us who knew him as a friend and supportive mentor over many years are particularly saddened by the news of his passing. Outside of politics he also had a keen interest in gardening and fishing, and regaled us all over the years with many stories. Our deepest sympathies are with Mary and his family at this time.

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