The death has been announced of the Dublin actor Jer O'Leary, best known for his stage role as union leader James Larkin and as Easter Rising leader Thomas Clarke in Neil Jordan's film Michael Collins.
The Irish Times reports that the actor, who was in his 70s, died suddenly over the Christmas holiday.
A balladeer, folklorist and activist, O'Leary was best known for his role as James Larkin in Jim Sheridan and John Arden's 1975 Dublin stage production The Non-Stop Connolly Show.
He went on to make his film debut in Sheridan's feature directorial debut, My Left Foot, and also worked with the director on The Field, In the Name of the Father, The Boxer, In America and Get Rich or Die Tryin'.
On television, O'Leary had roles in Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful and Ballykissangel. He also starred in the Michael Lavelle-directed short film Flow, which is available to watch on the RTÉ Player, and reprised his role as James Larkin on a number of occasions for special events.
Paying tribute, the trade union SIPTU described him as an "activist who made an immense contribution to the culture of trade unionism in Ireland through his artistic endeavours".
"He brought the speeches of Larkin to an even wider audience through his regular rendition of them at protests and marches...His work will live on and continue to inspire future generations of trade union activists." - @EthelBuckley https://t.co/ibFDef6IV6— SIPTU (@SIPTU) December 27, 2018
The Irish Times reports that Jer O'Leary is predeceased by his wife Eithne, son Diarmuid and brother Denis. The paper says he is survived by daughters Norah and Clare and by his sisters Margaret and Carmel.
There have been many tributes on social media:
Very sad to hear Jer has passed away. He was a family friend and the first person to give me an interview for @PassportIrish. It was a fascinating discussion of his life and work in film and the trade union movement. Hope to publish in full soon https://t.co/qOvWjbEpvg— Naomi O'Leary (@NaomiOhReally) December 26, 2018
Sad news: Jer O'Leary has passed away.— Paul Dillon (@pauldonaldillon) December 26, 2018
He was a great orator and brilliant actor. He brought Jim Larkin to life.
Jer was also an accomplished banner maker, and I met him after we commissioned him to do the banner in the pic for @UCFS.
Goodbye Jer, you won't be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/FRLqRKlLkL
Jer O'Leary. Dubliner, Irish. Rebel. To me, he'll always be the socialist actor who recitied James Larkin's famous speeches. He's a snip of his performance of Larkin's "Let Us Rise" speech in 2011. pic.twitter.com/FxC8cowutJ— El Compañero Scouse (@KierinOfflands) December 26, 2018
Jer O’Leary. The original banner man. One of Dublin’s great talents and characters. Condolences to all his friends, family and comrades old and not so old. ✊— Paddy Cole (@PaidiCole) December 26, 2018
(Photo: @GanseeFilms May Day 2017.) pic.twitter.com/5ymyBUGpcX
Jer was my lovely late uncle Denis O’Leary’s brother - an unmistakable feature of my childhood and a character unlike anyone else you’ll ever meet. RIP ❤️ https://t.co/pHc21jVvca— ❄️A one horse open Sleighdeen❄️ (@aideenblackwood) December 26, 2018
iIt’s not been a good day for news like this. Only ever met Jer O’Leary a couple of times but was a huge admirer and proud that I had a hand in getting UCDSU to commission what a beautiful banner from him a long, long time ago. The world is a fractionally less interesting place.. https://t.co/8WU57AEqdZ— emmet malone (@emmetmalone) December 26, 2018
Bad news. The great Jer O'Leary has left us. Lucky to say I could always count on him. Super chap. R.I.P. https://t.co/HrwMbjMn43— eamon carr (@carrtogram) December 26, 2018
Bye bye Jer O'Leary— ali coffey casting (@ACoffeyCasting) December 27, 2018
We'll miss you. Thanks for the hugs and laughs since I was 16 year old casting assistant.
22 years on and we say goodbye. X https://t.co/tS47PP9Z3I