Tributes paid as former Harlow Council chief passes away

Politics / Fri 20th Mar 2015 at 01:53pm

TRIBUTES have been paid to former Harlow Council general manager Dermot Byrne, who died yesterday (Thursday).

Mr Byrne was in charge of the council during the 1980s and 1990s.

His son, Labour MP Liam Byrne, said: “My father passed away after a short illness at Princess Alexandra in the heart of the town he loved and surrounded by his loving family.”

Harlow Council chairman Ian Beckett said: “The council’s thoughts are with Dermot’s friends and family at this time.

“Many of his friends who worked with him at the council remember him fondly and there are still colleagues who work at the council today who remember the contribution Dermot made to Harlow’s community services.”

Former Harlow Council leader and current Essex Euro MP Richard Howitt also paid tribute. He said: “Dermot Byrne was quite simply one of the most talented local government officials of his generation in the country and I count myself lucky to have worked with him and Harlow very fortunate to have attracted his talents.

“As first head of community services he helped establish Kingsmoor House and many other of the much-valued facilities of the town. Later, I had the privilege of working with him to achieve the town’s first economic development strategy, and to win the boundary change which enabled the development of Church Langley.

“During a period of great difficulty when the council was rate-capped, Dermot remained a calm and skilful manager who never lost his compassion for the human consequences of some very difficult decisions which were forced on us. I valued his absolute loyalty and commitment in those times.”

He added: “Derrmot was passionate about Harlow, brought up his own family in the town and today deserves his own place in the history of the the new town.

“I send my deep condolencies to all of Dermot’s friends and family, for a man who was truly loved and respected by many of us.”

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