The Minister for Children announced the heartbreaking news this morning.
Katherine Zappone confirmed the news that her wife, Dr Anne Louise Gilligan, passed away this week.
“I am heartbroken following the passing of my beloved Ann Louise,” the minister said in a statement this morning.
“Since 1981 she has been my love and my life-partner. Ann Louise was an educator extraordinaire.
“Her exceptional love of children lives on through the work of the thousands of primary school teachers she educated throughout the country.”
— Colm O’Gorman (@Colmogorman) June 15, 2017
The pair fought for equal marriage rights over the last few years and got engaged live on television after Ireland passed the marriage equality referendum in 2015.
The minister went on to thank the medical staff who cared for her wife during her recent illness.
“I want to offer my deepest appreciation to Professor Joe Harbison and the dedicated team at MISA in St James Hospital who looked after Ann Louise during her recent brief illness.
“They provided care, comfort and support for which I will be forever grateful.”
Dr Gilligan was a teacher at St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra and Dublin City University. The “educator extraordinaire” was also the co-founder and director of An Cosan, a centre of leaning, leadership and enterprise in Jobstown, Tallaght.