Tributes have been paid to a councillor of 40 years who has died of a “short illness”

Former Labour councillor George Meehan died yesterday at 71-years-old and was first made a ward councillor for the borough in 1971.

Initially serving until 1986, Mr Meehan was re-elected in 1990 in Woodside ward where he continued to serve until his death.

“George was a formidable character who made a lasting impression on all he met” said Haringey council leader Claire Kober.

“Never afraid to speak his mind, to challenge social injustice where he found it and to champion the needs and the rights of Haringey’s communities, George was a man of firm principle and unflinching devotion to public service.”

Mr Meehan served three stints at leader of the borough from 1983 to 1985; 1999 to 2004 and from 2006 until 2008, and moved to Haringey with his wife Mary from County Donegal in 1963.

A governor at many local schools, the councillor has been described as laying the foundations for improving education in the borough.

Cllr Kober added: “As leader, his achievements in improving schools in Haringey and driving forward the local BSF programme undoubtedly laid the foundations for the exceptional education that Haringey’s students enjoy today.

“Our thoughts are with Mary, her and George’s children Martin and Michael and all his friends and family at this very difficult time.”

Cllr Gail Engert, Haringey Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition, added: “George Meehan was a very dedicated councillor for forty years. He served his local community and led the council through some difficult times.

“George was always very clear and strong in his convictions and in his dedication to his party. I will remember him as a principled man who was never afraid to speak his mind.

“Our thoughts are with his family.”

Flags outside the civic centre, in Wood Green High Road, will be at half-mast today in honour of the councillor.

Funeral arrangements will be confirmed in due course.