Deputy Brendan Smith has been leading the tributes this afternoon to the late Mel Doherty who died yesterday. Described as the adopted son of Cavan, Mel was born and reared in Edgeworthstown in Co Longford and later brought his musical talents and larger than life personality to the Breffni county.
Speaking to Northern Sound, Deputy Smith said "Mel led a full life doing so much for others". He pointed out that Mel was a great character who always had a great story to tell. And indeed, his story came to life just last month when his book 'Mel's Your Man' was launched at the Town Hall in Cavan.
Deputy Smith added that the late Mel Doherty was always good humoured, positive and joyful to be around. "We had a great night on the 29th of July last when Mel launched his book 'Mel's Your Man'," he continued.
"The Town Hall was packed to overflowing that evening and his son Joe and others recalled tales of different events that Mel was involved in, and the different activities that he partook in for the benefit of our community. Mel also spoke and sang that evening himself.
"I am very sorry to hear of his passing but I am glad that his book was launched while Mel was with us on earth. It's great that we now have that book to recall that era - whether it was the Scouts Harmonica Band or the Tops of the Town.
"The different events that Mel and others went to, to raise funds for different causes, not just in Cavan but further afield."
Meanwhile, Killygarry GAA Club said it was saddened to hear of Mel's passing. In a statement on social media, the Club highlighted the great supporter that Mel was and how he compared at many of its events over the years.
The Cavan Branch of the Alzeimer Society added how saddened it was to hear of the death of "our dear friend Mel Doherty". The branch described him as the consummate entertainer and true gentleman who, along with his friend Dessie Ronan, gave freely of his time - for may years- to the organisation's monthly Forget-me-not Café in Castlemanor.
There, he played his drums, sang songs, told jokes and enriched the lives of all who visited the Cafe. Deputy Niamh Smyth also paid tribute on behalf of the Cavan Arts community. She said the community has lost "a real inspiration and legend" following Mel's death.
She extended her deepest sympathies to his wife and family and added: "Mel was a character in the best sense of the word and gave his heart and soul for the betterment of people and the community. His fun, humour and generosity entertained so many and he always put a smile on faces."
The late Mel Doherty is survived by his wife, Rosaleen, daughter Anita; sons Neil, Mel, Joseph and Philip; extended family, relatives, neighbours and friends.