Fine Gael stalwart honoured by Limerick branch

Fine Gael stalwart John Leonard (middle) pictured with Leo Walsh Constituency Chair (right) and Artist Jim O'Farrell (left).

LONG standing Fine Gael member, Ballysimon native John Leonard was honoured by the Limerick City constituency for his decades-long service to the party, especially his fund raising skills through the Superdraw.

Mr Leonard originally became involved in Fine Gael in 1961 when his friend, the late Tom O’Donnell, stood for the Dáil and asked him to be part of his campaign.

“I became a full time member of the party when I moved to Corbally and joined the local branch and served in many officerships including chairman and  secretary. I also served on the old Limerick East executive as vice-chairman and treasurer,” he told the Limerick Post.

John was honoured chiefly for his role in the annual Superdraw, where he raised thousands each year.

His local branch Corbally joined with the Limerick City constituency to honour him with the presentation of a watercolour painting of Athlunkard Street by well known Limerick artist Jim O’Farrell.

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John’s roots go back to Cumann na nGaedheal. His uncle on his mother’s side was an associate of Michael Collins and is reputed to have hidden Collins in the cellar of his Dublin pub when he was on the run in 1920s.

“Collins was a hero in our house and coincidentally his grand-niece, Nora Owen, as Minister for Justice, appointed me as a Peace Commissioner before she left office in 1997,” he recalled.

“Although Fine Gael is very much in my DNA, I was very surprised to have this honour sprung upon me. For me it is an honour to serve the party of law and order which set up this State.”