Flowing tributes were paid to former Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Dr Michael Russell, at Monday night’s monthly meeting of the City Council.

Mayor of Waterford, Cllr Jack Walsh, recalled a bishop who was loved by all the people, for his wisdom and insight. On behalf of Fine Gael, Cllr Tom Cunningham said Dr Russell was a man of great compassion and humility who had served the diocese with great distinction. A great attendee at Council events and Mayoral elections, Cllr Cunningham recalled how the late bishop could regale people with his unique and humorous stories.

Cllr Pat Hayes, representing the Labour Party, acknowledged the significant contribution Dr Russell had made to Waterford during his lifetime. “He was a man of great humour, wit and charity”, Cllr Hayes added. “We have lost a great servant to Waterford.”

Cllr Davy Daniels spoke for his fellow Independent representatives when he described Dr Russell as a very great but also a very humble man. “I met him regularly out and about in the Sts Joseph and Benildus parish. Though a native of Tipperary, he always had a huge interest in Waterford, especially on the hurling field.”

Speaking for the Workers’ Party, Cllr Davy Walsh remembered Dr Russell as most approachable and humane: “You were always enriched from being in his company and he played a huge part in the social development of this city.”

Cllr Tom Murphy of Fianna Fail said the former bishop had always been a wonderful listener and noted that there probably wasn’t a house in Waterford that didn’t have his photo on the wall from a Confirmation day. Finally Joe Kelly, Sinn Fein noted how Dr Russell was a brilliant representative of the Catholic Church in the diocese.

As a mark of respect to the late bishop, the Council will attend the funeral Mass of Dr Russell in robe at the Cathedral, Barronstrand St on Thursday morning.