The late Cllr Jerry Lodge (third from left, back row), with councillors and council staff at the last ever meeting of Portlaoise Town Council in 2014.
An absolute gentleman and very intelligent speaker who was the voice of calm in council meetings, is how the late Cllr Jerry Lodge has been described by chairperson of the Portlaoise Municipal District, Cllr Mary Sweeney.
Paying tribute to the late Fianna Fáil man on behalf of her fellow councillors of the Portlaoise Municipal District, Fine Gael’s Cllr Sweeney said:
“As a councillor he was quite unique, he had 50 years’ service this year and it was a job he wore with great distinction. He was a great speaker and a very intelligent gentleman who put incredible detail into researching anything he did.
“But more importantly, he was an absolute gentleman and it was a pleasure to have been in his company.”
An emotional Cllr Sweeney said it was hard to put into words, as she had lost a great friend.
She described Cllr Lodge as “the voice of calm” in many’s the council meeting, an intelligent and engaging speaker she loved listening to as he was so tuned in. Although council chambers can sometimes be combative arenas, Jerry never denigrated anyone on any side of the political spectrum.
“He was a very special man,” said Cllr Sweeney, adding that they enjoyed “a bit of fun, a bit of gallery” during meetings.
Cllr Lodge was first elected to Portlaoise Town Commission in 1967 and and went on to hold dual town and county seats until 2014 when Portlaoise Town Council was abolished. Since 2014, he continued serving local politics as a councillor with the Portlaoise Municipal District.
Praising Cllr Lodge’s great service to the Portlaoise area, as well as his tireless work with the local Tidy Towns group, alongside fellow councillor the late Kathleen O’Brien, Cllr Sweeney said that everyone on the Portlaoise Municipal District and the extended council were all very sad at his passing, and expressed their sympathies with Cllr Lodge’s family.