Liam Aylward who is announcing his retirement today from public office has never lost an election, local, national or European in over 40 years in politics. And he leaves the political arena with an unblemished record of service.
The 61-ear-old will stand down as an MEP for this region early next summer. The former Fianna Fail TD will be best remembered as Minister for Rural Development where he promoted alternative farm enterprises and as Minister for Sport where he helped many sporting organisations to achieve their dreams of having top class facilities and grounds.
He started his career as a lab technician, and he was really, an old style politician, preferring to meet people rather than having to rely on social media and he remains in touch with people on the ground, especially in South Kilkenny his base, from where he launched so many successful campaigns.
Former colleague, retired Sen Mick Lanigan said that hard work was the secret to Liam Aylward’s unmatched success. “If you made a representation to him it was thoroughly followed up and he made sure his constituents received the benefits and entitlements they deserved. He also had a great with people and he engendered a loyalty among voters,” Mr Lanigan said.
Although born in Mullinavat, he lives with his wife Kathleen in Aghavillier, Hugginstown.
He was elected to Kilkenny County Council in 1974 following the untimely death of his late father, Sen Bob Aylward and served on the council until 1992.
A keen hurler, he was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fianna Fáil TD for the Carlow–Kilkenny at the 1977 and at every general election of the next 30 years.