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Michael O'Regan after Kerry reclaimed the Sam Maguire in 2022. X

Tributes following death of 'first-rate journalist, raconteur and proud Kerryman' Michael O'Regan

“He will be missed by people from all aspects of politics,” President Higgins said.

COLLEAGUES, POLITICIANS, ACQUAINTANCES and readers have all been paying tribute to long-time journalist Michael O’Regan, who died at his home in Dublin.

O’Regan was a political correspondent with The Irish Times across four decades from the 1980s and has been a regular voice and face across radio and television. 

In recent years, O’Regan used his vast experience to be a much-loved political commentator online and had a weekly ‘Call from the Dáil’ radio slot on Kerry Today. 

A proud man of The Kingdom and advocate for its interests, O’Regan served as president of the Kerry Association in Dublin in recent years.

Famed for his honest observations, wit and affable nature, O’Regan’s death has been met with sadness across Irish politics and journalism. 

Paying tribute, Tánaiste Micheál Martin called him “an outstanding journalist, raconteur and man of integrity”. 

“A political journalist for all of my Dáil career, Michael was engaging, objective, and great company. A Kerryman to his core, he will be sorely missed by all,” Martin said on Twitter. 

In a statement, President Michael D Higgins said he was very sorry to learn the news, stating that he retained his interest in politics until his passing.

“He will be missed by people from all aspects of politics,” said the president, adding:

“Michael O’Regan’s journalistic career coincided very closely with my own time in Leinster House and he was a journalist for whom I, together with so many others, had the utmost respect.

“Throughout the many years in which we met, Michael was always warm and engaging in conversation on the many topics which were for discussion. He was incredibly courteous, and a perfect judge of when an injection of the humour, upon which he drew from his proud Kerry background, was needed.”

Prior to becoming an Oireachtas reporter, Higgins said O’Regan made a significant contribution in his coverage of the Kerry Babies Tribunal, both during the tribunal itself and in his book on that tragic event and its handling.

“In recent years, Michael wrote about his cancer treatment with great dignity. In writing with such clarity and honesty of his treatment, he provided a great service to others in helping provide a sense of understanding and how they may seek to face their own treatments. As ever, Michael’s meticulous skills of context, warmth and clarity were to the fore.

“He will be missed by all of us who knew him. May I express my deepest sympathies to all of his family, friends and colleagues,” said the president. 

Green Party leader and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said in a statement that O’Regan was a “stalwart in Leinster House” who had a political anecdote for every occasion. 

Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae wrote online: “I want to say to how saddened we all are to learn of Michael O’Regan’s passing.

“Michael was everything that’s good about political reporting and journalism. He was a rock of common sense in the halls of Leinster and reflected that in his reporting.” 

The Journal‘s Political Editor Christina Finn said that O’Regan was “a lovely, generous person and a great colleague in Leinster House”.

He always had a story to tell and was so encouraging to all, particularly new journalists starting out in the Dáil. RIP.

Speaking on the loss of a colleague, Editor of The Irish Times Ruadhán Mac Cormaic said: “Michael was a generous colleague and a first-rate journalist who leaves behind a body of work that chronicles a country in flux.”

“His coverage of the Kerry babies case was the work of a highly skilled reporter; his anger, recalling it many decades later, was that of a man of heart and compassion,” Mac Cormaic wrote. 

He added: “He was sceptical but not cynical; his job was to understand politicians, and he did. We’ll miss that unforgettable voice.” 

General manager of Radio Kerry Fiona Stack extended sympathy to O’Regan’s immediate and extended family and described him as “generous with his knowledge, insightful, kind and very proud of all things Kerry.”

Séamus Dooley, Irish Secretary of the National Union of Journalists wrote on X: “Michael was a man of wisdom, kindness, humour. He could be provocative, even annoying but never dull- the very best of company. He loved storytelling. It was what he did best.”

In a post online late last night, the Kerry Association said that it had lost “our beloved friend and wonderful President Michael O’Regan”.

“He was a brilliant and courageous reporter on national and local issues but it is as a proud Kerryman to his core that we will remember him – proud of his daughters, his grandchildren, his country, his county and his people. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h’anam dílis.”

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