Minister for the Gaelktacht Éamon Ó Cuív has paid tribute to former Fine Gael Senator Pól Ó Foighil, who has died at 78.

Mr Ó Foighil caused controversy during his period in Seanad Éireann, from 1989 to 1993, by insisting on wearing the traditional ‘báinín’ garment, and by changing his name to Pól ‘Báinín’ Ó Foighil.

Mr Ó Cuív said Pól Ó Foighil had fought for the things he believed in, and for his people.

He was a man who spoke out strongly on many subjects, but was fairminded, courteous and gentle, the Minister said.

Originally from Co Tipperary, Mr Ó Foighil lived in Indreabhán, Co Galway. 

He was a Galway County Councillor and an elected member of the Údarás na Gaeltachta board. He retired from these positions in April 2004, citing health reasons.

Mr Ó Foighil was well known for his community development work and for developing co-operatives in Connemara, the Aran Islands, and Inishbiggle. 

He was recently in the headlines for initiating a controversial language planning clause, which meant that only Irish speakers could purchase or build houses in the Galway Gaeltacht. 

Mr Ó Foighil developed the first wind energy farm in Co Galway.