Tipperary’s two government ministers, county council chiefs and mountaineering community representatives have joined in paying tribute to the late Tipperary Co. Council engineer Peter Britton following his tragic death on Mont Blanc this week.
And they have all extended their deep sympathy to his mourning family, work colleagues and friends and the family of his mountaineering partner Colm Ennis, who also died in the accident.
In a joint statement, Tipperary Co. Council Chief Executive Joe McGrath and Council Chairman Cllr Michael Fitzgerald said the local authority’s members, management and staff were deeply saddened and shocked to learn of Peter’s sudden and tragic death and their thoughts and prayers were with his family and Mr Ennis’ family.
“Peter was a valued colleague who approached every aspect of his work with professionalism, integrity and commitment,” they said.
“His work with both South Tipperary County Council and more recently Tipperary County Council will endure for many years and we owe him a great debt of gratitude for his commitment to Tipperary. We will miss Peter but will forever treasure the memories of our colleague and friend.”
Environment & Local Government Minister Alan Kelly paid tribute to Peter Britton’s outstanding work in his various roles with Tipperary Co. Council. “He carried out his work in both a professional and friendly manner. He was meticulous in his approach to his work. There is no doubt that Peter will be a huge loss to the authority,” he said.
Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine Tom Hayes described Peter as an extremely competent and capable engineer, who was always looking for solutions to problems.
He recalled the central role Peter played in the Forestry Industry Transport Group, which recently produced a good practice guide for managing timber transport.
Rathgormack Community & Hiking Centre Committee, where Peter and Colm practised their mountaineering skills on its climbing wall, said it was devastated by their deaths.
“Peter and Colm used the facilities in Rathgormack Community & Hiking Centre. Peter ran the climbing wall there for the last 14 years, encouraging all ages to take up the sport he loved so much and organising groups and individuals from far and wide to climb in the centre,” the Committee said.
“Peter was a gentleman to deal with and was always happy to help and support Rathgormack Community Centre. They will both be greatly missed by their friends here in Rathgormack.”
Mountaineering Ireland Chief Executive Karl Boyle said both Peter and Colm were very experienced alpinists, whose loss will be greatly felt within the climbing and hillwalking community. “They made an enormous contribution to the sport and were instrumental in introducing young people and adults to hillwalking and climbing.”
Clonmel’s Peaks Mountaineering Club Secretary John Morrissey extended condolences on behalf of the Club to the families of both men. He said Peter and his wife had been members of the Club in the past and were well known to many of their members. He remembered Peter as a man who was “good company, softly spoken and good humoured, helpful and encouraging to all”.
“Peter loved the outdoors, he especially loved climbing and was an experienced and very competent rockclimber and alpinist and founder of Rathgormack Climbing Club. He loved the mountains and took part in the KMD dry run recently.”
Mr Morrissey added that Colm was also known to some of their members as he took part in earlier KMD crossings and had worked in Bulmers. .