President leads tributes to Tuam playright Tom Murphy who has died at 83

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Uachtarán na hÉireann Michael D. Higgins has paid tribute to Tuam playright Tom Murphy, who has died at the age of 83.

President Michael D. Higgins said in a statement today: “It was with great sadness that Sabina and I have learned of the death of Tom Murphy.

“The importance of Tom Murphy’s contribution to Irish theatre is immeasurable and outstanding. We have had no greater use of language for the stage than in the body of work produced by Tom Murphy since his earliest work in the 1960s.

“His themes were not only those which had influenced the very essence of Irishness, emigration, famine and loss – they were universal in their reach.

“From the early beginnings of his writings in Tuam, Tom Murphy produced a unique and often provocative body of work. He was above all the great playwright of the emigrant, more than anyone capturing, in a poignant, creative way, the transience that is at the heart of the emigrant experience.

“It was such a joy to meet Tom so many times over the years, and a particular pleasure for any of us who have been privileged to call him our friend.”

Local politicians also paid tribute to the award-winning playright, including Galway East TD Sean Canney.

“Tom Murphy held up a mirror to the West of Ireland and put its people onto the world stage. The richness and beauty of his language shone through even though his plays were often hard-hitting,” he said.

“His themes were universal but he brought great recognition to the town of Tuam and he made a huge contribution to Ireland’s artistic heritage.”

The Druid Theatre said: “Druid is deeply saddened by the loss of Tom Murphy. Today we have lost a friend, a colleague, a great Irish writer and man of the theatre. Our thoughts tonight are with his wife Jane, with Mary, Bennan, Johnny, Nell & the extended Murphy family.”

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.