Portrait of senator murdered by IRA in Leinster House unveiled – The Irish News

Portrait of senator murdered by IRA in Leinster House unveiled – The Irish News

A portrait of the only member of the Oireachtas to be murdered during the conflict in Northern Ireland has been unveiled at Leinster House in Dublin.

Senator Billy Fox was shot dead by the IRA on 11 March 1974 while visiting his girlfriend’s home near Tircooney.

A gang of Provisional IRA members arrived at the scene ahead of him to search it for weapons. The Fine Gael politician was shot as he reached the house and tried to flee when he was stopped by the men.

Although loyalists initially confessed to the 35-year-old’s murder, five IRA members were later convicted.

A new portrait of the senator, painted by artist Nina Ruminska, was unveiled at Leinster House on Wednesday. The unveiling was carried out by the Speaker of Seanad Éireann, Senator Jerry Buttimer, and Taoiseach Simon Harris, in the presence of the late politician’s family.

A new portrait of Senator Billy Fox by artist Nina Ruminska.

Mr Fox previously served as MP for Monaghan from 1969 until the year before his death.

Mr Buttimer described Senator Fox as a “brave politician”.

“As an MP, Billy Fox criticised the British Army for using plastic bullets to control crowds and creating craters in ‘illegal roads’ on the border,” he said.

“In fact, he achieved national notoriety when, in December 1971, he was forcibly removed from the Dáil Chamber during a Dáil debate and displayed two rubber bullets and a canister of CS ammunition which he claimed had been fired by British forces across the border.

“Billy Fox was a man of broad vision who sought to understand other points of view. He was often described as ‘a man ahead of his time.’ Someone who worked tirelessly with all his passion, imagination and empathy for the good of the community.”

He added: “It is right and just that his portrait will be permanently displayed on the walls of Leinster House.”