Late Education Minister Dr Richard Pathirana had rendered a yeoman service to national education and was a leading figure in the progressive political camp in the South, said Leader of the House and Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva.
Moving the vote of condolence on late Dr Richard Pathirana the Minister made this observations and said he was a remarkable orator that handled the Opposition in the House for six years with only a single decisive vote over the Opposition, as the Leader of the House.
Stating that Dr Richard Pathirana represented the people of Akmeena for 16 years Minister de Silva said he held many distinguished positions in the Government and the Parliament.
He was the Leader of the House during 2000 to 2001 and the Chief Government Whip during 1994 to 2000.
He held the office of Chief Opposition Whip during 1989 to 1994.
He was the Education and Higher Education Minister during 1994 to 2000 and the State Administration, Home Affairs and Administration Reforms Minister during 2000 to 2001.
He established the Rajarata, Sabaragamuwa and Wayamba Universities during his tenure as Higher Education Minister increasing the number of universities to 12 in the country. He also increased the annual enrolments of students to universities from 8,500 to 12,000. He also took measures to increase the allocation made for Education from Rs. 17 billion to Rs. 34 billion as the Education Minister.
Further in order to maintain the dignity of the teaching profession he initiated measures to increase salaries of teachers from 75 percent to 200 percent and provided facilities for them to study overseas for the first time.
He was born on February 24, 1938 at Labuduwa, Galle. Having obtained his primary education at Maitipe Vijayarajah College in Galle he obtained his secondary education at Vidyaloka College, Galle.
He graduated from the Peradeniya University and obtained his post graduate diploma from the Sri Jayewardenepura University.
Pathirana married Vijitha Pathirage. He had three children. His son Dr. Ramesh Pathirana was newly elected to Parliament. Other two daughters are Iromi Pathirana and Dinusha Pathirana.
Minister de Silva further said former Minister Pathirana initiated his career as a schoolteacher of Baddegama Naravala Maha Vidyalaya in 1958 and became the Principal in 1971. Later he was subjected to political victimisation. In 1980 he entered politics and became the Akmeemana SLFP organiser.
He was elected to Parliament in 1982.
Pathirana always acted bravely - Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the late Richard Pathirana always acted bravely in the House. He did a yeoman service to uplift education and rendered a remarkable service to the country. He also acted to protect the dignity of Parliament.
Pathirana committed himself to serve the youth - Minister Dinesh Gunawardena
Chief Government Whip, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said the late Richard Pathirana rendered a great service as an MP, Minister, Leader of the House and Chief Government Whip. He committed himself to serve the youth by listening to their grievances. He protected many young lives during the 88/89 period.
Pathirana was a helpful person - R. Sampanthan
TNA Group Leader R. Sampanthan said the late Richard Pathirana was a very helpful person. He was competent in maintaining a cordial friendship with all MPs irrespective of party differences in Parliament. He contributed significantly to bring the UPFA to power. He also took many fruitful measures to promote education in rural as well as urban areas.
Pathirana developed human resources as well as physical resources - Minister Susil Premajayantha
Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha said the late Richard Pathirana took measures to develop human resources as well as physical resources in the education sector.
He pioneered in establishing a College of Education and Teachers College.
UPFA Galle District MP Dr Ramesh Pathirana said that his father, the late Richard Pathirana committed his whole life to fulfil the needs of the Galle people.
They miss his service now. I would continue the social service carried out by my father by giving maximum support to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he said.
Pathirana held liberal views - Minister Dew Gunasekera
Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Minister DEW Gunasekera said as a teacher, principal, MP, Minister and Leader of the House he rendered a yeoman service to the country within a very short period. He held liberal views. As Education and Public Administration Minister, he fulfilled his responsibilities to the letter.