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Death of Member: Expressions of Sympathy (Continued)

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 835 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny] She brings her goodness to that place of life and light beyond the darkness. She was a woman of great joy and will bring that joy with her to her new life and place. She has gone before us and will I hope be there to meet us. I called to see her last Friday after coming back from Brussels. It is a debilitating ailment and I extend my sympathy to her children, Caren and Eoin, and her family. Go ndéanfaidh Dia grásta ar bhean álainn.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore I join the Taoiseach in expressing our sadness at the death of our colleague, Nicky McFadden, and our deepest sympathy to her daughter, Caren, and her son, Eoin. We were all shocked when we heard some time ago of her illness and with a great deal of sadness saw her condition progress. We all understood where it would eventually lead, but, notwithstanding this, we are all struck with a great sense of sadness and loss at her passing. She was a great colleague and brought a sense of joy to the House. She was someone in whose company it was always a pleasure to be. She always had a positive outlook on life and politics. The work she did for her constituents, particularly in Athlone but more broadly in the constituency of Longford-Westmeath, in the Dáil, during her time in the Seanad and while serving on various local authorities will be remembered by all who worked with her. On my own behalf and that of the Labour Party, I express my sympathy, particularly to her son and daughter, her family, friends, the Taoiseach and her colleagues in Fine Gael. It is a sad day for all of us.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Ar dtús báire, ba mhaith liom mo chomhbhrón a dhéanamh le clann Nicky McFadden, leis an Taoiseach agus le Páirtí Fhine Gael as ucht bás Nicky. Níl aon amhras ach gur oibrigh sí go dian dícheallach ar son muintir a dúiche féin. Bhí sin soiléir do gach duine. Bhain gach duine taitneamh as a comhluadar agus an méid a rinne sí, ní hamháin mar Theachta Dála ach mar chomhairleoir agus Seanadóir chomh maith.

On behalf of my party, I sympathise with the Taoiseach and the Fine Gael Party on the very sad loss and the passing of Nicky McFadden. We extend our sympathy to her family, her daughter, Caren, and her son, Eoin. She represented the very best of commitment to public service in the country. Very often politics can attract negative commentary, but we can stand back and reflect on the life and career of a person like Nicky McFadden, whose fundamental motivation was to serve the public as a county councillor from 1999 until 2007 and as a Senator who was delighted to be elected to the Dáil in the general election in 2011. She made an outstanding contribution and had a key interest in the arts and education. Being a member of the vocational education committee and the community college in her native town, she was genuinely committed to these issues. She was passionate about those who had been left behind in housing and ensuring people had access to education. She will be a major loss to the Dáil and public life.

Deputy Robert Troy speaks highly of Nicky McFadden's basic human characteristics. She was a very nice person who got on well with all those who came into contact with her. She bore a difficult condition bravely. Motor neuron disease strikes terror into any family or person with a diagnosis, but it did not stop her bravely organising a number of functions, with Fine Gael colleagues, particularly the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Jimmy Deenihan, to focus attention on the disease and act as a catalyst to resource research into the condition, advance treatment and, ultimately, identify a cure. She led the way in that regard and we all owe her a debt of gratitude for that bravery and commitment. Until the end, she maintained her political service to the people of whom she was so fond, her constituents across the board. Go ndéanfaidh Dia trócaire ar a hanam.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Níor chuala mé ach uair a chloig ó shin go bhfuair Nicky McFadden bás agus bhí an-bhrón orm nuair a chuala mé an scéal uaigneach sin. Ar mo shon féin agus ar son Shinn Féin, ba mhaith liom comhbhrón a dhéanamh lena teaghlach, lena mac agus lena hiníon, leis an Taoiseach agus le Páirtí Fhine Gael. I did not know Nicky McFadden as well as other Members, but when I heard she was ill, on a number of occasions I went to where she sat to ask her how she was. Even when she was not able to articulate as well as she used to, she struck me as being very positive and cheerful. I did not think she was as ill as she was because of her demeanour. I extend my sympathy to the Taoiseach, Fine Gael, her family, her daughter, Caren, her son, Eoin and, her wider family.

As Teachta Micheál Martin said, motor neuron disease is a dreadful ailment. A young guy who is a gael and a friend of mine, Antrim footballer Anto Finnegan, suffers from the disease and is heading a campaign to research its causes. It might be a fitting tribute to Nicky if we resolve to do something to try to get to the causes of the disease and research how it happens and can be dealt with. For now, it is a day to celebrate a feisty, brave, cheerful and positive woman. Ba mhaith liom comhbhrón a dhéanamh leis an Taoiseach agus le clann McFadden.

Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan: Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan The Technical Group sends its condolences and sympathy to Nicky McFadden's loved ones, family, friends and colleagues in Fine Gael and those with whom she worked as a Senator. I came into the House following a by-election in June 2009 after the death of Tony Gregory. I inherited his office on the sixth floor in LH2000. The corridor is a mixed bag, with representatives of Sinn Féin, the Green Party, Fine Gael and Independents. Nicky McFadden's office was alongside mine and I appreciated the advice and assistance she and others on the floor gave me when I came first. I was delighted when she was elected and that she had had the opportunity to develop her talents and skills. When she contracted motor neuron disease, I had some conversations with her. At that stage, one of my closest friends had been battling the disease for a number of years. I shared my friend's story with Nicky and the two had much in common, mainly their positive attitude towards this most cruel illness. I know what my friend and Nicky went through. I knew what lay ahead for Nicky because of the progress of this horrible illness, but she was very positive and determined and took some solace and consolation from the way my friend was battling it.

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