Terry Kelly; Mayor of Limerick and former CEO and Chairman of DCCoI, passed away in December 2015

Posted 31.12.15

FORMER Mayor of Limerick, Terry Kelly - who was one of only five female mayors in the city in more than 800 years - has passed away following an illness.

A former chief executive of the (Design &) Crafts Council of Ireland, she passed away aged 74 this Wednesday morning in Dublin, where she had moved to many years ago.

A grand-daughter of the founder of Barry’s Tea, Terry (Therese) Kelly, a Fine Gael councillor, art teacher and businesswoman, served as Mayor of Limerick in 1983/1984, and was the second woman to take the office, after Mayor Frances Condell in 1962.

One of six children born in Cork, she attended the Crawford School of Art in Cork, and was a sister of Peter Barry, a foreign Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for the Environment and former Lord Mayor of Cork. Their father, in turn, the late Anthony Barry, had also worn the chains of the Cork office in 1961/62, and served in the Dail and Seanad until 1965. She was also exhibitions director of The Heritage Trust from 1985 for two years, chief executive of the Crafts Council of Ireland from 1987 for many years, and also its chairwoman up to 1999. She was also an executive director of the Irish Landmark Trust, a member of the board of the EBS Building Society, and a member of its audit committee, and a director of Design yard.

Her niece, the MEP Deirdre Clune, confirmed that the mother of four passed away in the early hours of this morning. “She was a progressive mayor who pushed the boundaries, and remained interested in politics and the arts all her life,” Ms Clune told the Limerick Leader. Former mayor of Limerick, Maria Byrne, described her as a “lovely lady, who served the city well and who adopted a stately approach while in office.” An article in our sister newspaper, the Limerick Chronicle, dated June 1993, stated that Mayor Kelly succeeded Tony Bromell, the Fianna Fail mayor.

Mick Lipper, who was also Mayor in 1973/74, was proposed and seconded again on this occasion, but decided to withdraw “in the interests of the mayoralty”, and Terry Kelly was elected by nine votes to seven, with one abstention. Speaking prior to her election as mayor about her time in politics, she said: “To be quite honest about it, there was nobody more surprised than myself when I was elected in ward three.”

Following the death of her husband John in 1980, she sold the Shannon Arms on Henry Street in Limerick for a reported £300,000 in 1981. The couple had moved to Limerick in the 1970s, after spending ten years in London and two years in Dublin. After buying Eagle Lodge on O’Connell Avenue, her children attended the Model school, Laurel Hill and St Clement’s. The other women who became Limerick’s first citizens were current Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan, in 1993 for a one year time, Fine Gael’s Maria Kelly, and Independent councillor Kathleen Leddin.

Terry Kelly is pre-deceased by her husband John, and survived by her children, and her brothers Peter, in Cork, and Tony in Dublin.

This article is courtesy of the journalist Anne Sheridan and was first published in the Limerck Leader on 30th December 2015.
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