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Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy (Continued)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 806 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin] People often say that politics is the art of the possible but with Knock Airport, P.J. may have proved people wrong. In the teeth of opposition from a significant Dublin 4 set - I see the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform smiling - which said this would never work, P.J. had the vision, commitment and belief to drive the project forward. His close working relationship with the late Monsignor Horan helped to bring to fruition a bold project that defied and continues to defy the critics. P.J. played a vital role in persuading the then Taoiseach Charles J. Haughey to come on board for the project and securing what Monsignor Horan called "the greatest day in the history of Connacht for a hundred years". When that first plane taxied up the freshly paved runway and took flight for Rome in 1985, P.J. Morley clearly played his part. The people of the west and the entire country enjoy the lasting benefits of Knock Airport, a major infrastructural boost to the region that accommodates hundreds of thousands of passengers year on year. As we reflect on the energy and difficulty involved in getting such a massive project over the line in politics, we can see that P.J.'s work contributed to what is truly a remarkable achievement and is a real inspiration to those of us committed to bettering our country through public service.

P.J. had that kind of quiet commitment to public service that toils away not for profit or glory but for the common good. His cause was the ordinary people he represented and their fight was his fight. In a time of much cynicism about public life, the quiet, modest, unassuming but profound commitment of P.J. Morley to public service stands out as a shining example. That fire of commitment towards the ideal of public service was clearly the guiding light of his life. Those are the best traditions of Irish politics and P.J. embodied those principles. The Ireland into which he was born in 1931 was clearly a vastly different place to the one he left last October and it is perhaps difficult for contemporaries today to imagine the Mayo that P.J. Morley grew up in - the hard times people endured then and the stark challenges they had to overcome. Over his 81 years, P.J. saw immense transformations across this island but he was not content simply to be an observer in life. He wanted to better the world around him and played his part in shaping it. He knew that progress does not just happen but is driven by men and women who strive tirelessly towards it.

His legacy is greater and more enduring that any piece of infrastructure. His family can genuinely look at a life that has been well lived and see every day the impact he has had on their county and country. His overall legacy, however, is one of deep commitment to public service - a humble and understated desire to build on the work of those who gave up so much for us and to bequeath to the next generation the things the generation before us could not give. As long as that spirit is resilient to the test of time and as long as men and women of the calibre, integrity and modesty of P.J. Morley take up that cause, our future, even in these very difficult times, will be a bright and better one. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny P.J. Morley was a lovely man. He was a most genuine personality and I regarded him as a great friend in politics although he came from a different political persuasion. I served with P.J. as a councillor and Deputy over many years. He was a man driven by loyalty to his party, his native county of Mayo and, above all, to his family. I am glad that Mary and members of her family - Patrick, Enda, Brian and Cathy - are here.

  P.J. served as a councillor and Deputy for over 40 years. When I mention his name, I can hear his infectious laugh and his understanding of the humour in Irish life at all times. He was always foremost in the pursuit of what was good for his county and constituents. He began his working life in my alma mater of St. Patrick's College in Drumcondra and went on to serve a wider community with great loyalty and distinction as a member of Mayo County Council, the Western Health Board and the County Mayo Vocational Educational Committee. He was a member of the Irish National Teachers Organisation, Muintir Na Tíre, the National Farmers Association, the Oireachtas Committee of Public Accounts and the Council of Europe.

  Deputy Martin is right. He will always be remembered for his loyalty and consistent and persistent discussions about the development of the miracle at Knock. Monsignor Horan was a great friend of P.J. I agree that P.J. Morley was foremost in bringing the first eitleán to land at Barr na Cáóige when people could not understand what had happened up there.

  I know that in his retirement, he reflected on his politics and life in general. The Ceann Comhairle will remember P.J. Morley as a Member of this House. I saw him flower when he became chairman of the Western Health Board. P.J. Morley had a really sharp mind on complex issues, be they capital budgets or health issues, and was able to segment the arguments like a good judge and lay out in sequence the plan and strategy to be followed. He was not above Machiavellian tactics inside his own party. In those days when there was no money in the Western Health Board, a most vociferous former Deputy who passed away, Seán Doherty, who was a member of the same board had a great rivalry in County Roscommon with his colleague, former Deputy Terry Leyden, who was exalted to the high office of Minister of State at the Department of Health. When things got very rough at the Western Health Board, as they often did, and there was no money for anything, P.J. Morley always had the answer. He would say "we'll summon the Minister of State to the next meeting." I am quite sure that had been arranged in advance.

  I would like to say to Mary and all the family that I regarded P.J. as a great friend, a gentleman and someone who was exceptionally loyal to his family, party and people. I agree fully with Deputy Martin. He is a loss to our society and I hope he wrote down many of the stories he came across over his 40 years because the thread in there was one of understanding of human nature, the characteristics of the people of the west and the evidence of great humour in Irish life irrespective of the difficulties we might have faced. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore Thar mo cheann féin agus thar ceann Pháirtí an Lucht Oibre, ba mhaith liom cur leis an méid atá ráite ag ceannaire Fhianna Fáil agus ag an Taoiseach faoin iar-Theachta PJ Morley. Bhí aithne agam air anseo mar Theachta Dála, bhí an-mheas agam air agus ba mhaith liom mo chomhbhrón a dhéanamh lena bhean Máire agus lena chlann. On my behalf and that of the Labour Party, I extend our sincerest sympathies to P.J. Morley's wife Mary and his family, those living at home and abroad and his extended family. P.J. had a long and illustrious career in public life that spanned over three decades, from his work as a school principal through his work on Mayo County Council and then his election to the Seanad in 1973 and the Dáil in 1977. I know he is fondly remembered by all who worked with him. He had the ability to make and retain friends regardless of political persuasion. He was a proud Mayo man and an Irishman who served his constituents and the people of Ireland and Mayo to the best of his abilities.

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