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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 Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore] He worked hard at both local and national level in a very determined way. He delivered many projects during his career. Deputy Micheál Martin referred to many of them, but the one for which he will be remembered most was securing Government support for Knock Airport during the 1980s at a time when many said it should not be done, that it was not a good idea, to put it mildly. It was a major accomplishment for him.

I got to know P. J. Morley when I was elected to the Dáil in the middle period of his time in this House. He was not one of the better known names in national politics at the time, but I got to know him very well in working with him on committees and here in the House. I was always struck by the very thoughtful way in which he approached issues. I noted the serious consideration he gave to legislative proposals, the way in which he held Ministers to account, his ability to work with Deputies, irrespective of their political persuasion or affiliation. He was very much a strong example of somebody who had public service running through his veins, from his time as a teacher and in the extension of that experience into his work as a public representative. It is an ethic that is sometimes forgotten in the modern day. There is such a thing as public service; there is such a thing as a public service ethic, and there is such a thing as a belief in public service. In my case, certainly, I recall being very impressed by the degree to which that made him tick, that it was what motivated him, what made him come here every day to work on behalf of his constituents. This is what impressed me when I came to the Dáil as a new Deputy. It was a privilege and a pleasure to have known him. I know that in the past 15 years or so he had more of an opportunity to spend time with his family. I have no doubt that the memories his family hold of that time will be greatly treasured. He was a man who was greatly respected in the Dáil and across the west he is a man who is very much remembered and respected. I express my sympathy to his wife, Mary, and his family. He will be fondly remembered in Leinster House.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Ní raibh aithne agamsa ar P.J. Morley, ach ó bheith ag éisteacht le ceannaire Fhianna Fáil, an Taoiseach agus an Tánaiste táim fíor-bhrónach faoi sin. Fear iontach a bhí ann de réir na scéalta. Ba mhaith liom, ar son Shinn Féin, fáilte mhór a chur roimh a bhean chéile Mary agus a chlann. Táim brónach agus ba mhaith liom mo chomhbhrón a dhéanamh lena theaghlach ar fad.

I extend sympathy on behalf of Sinn Féin to P.J. Morley's family; his wife, Mary; his daughter, Cathy; and his sons Patrick, Enda and Brian, as well as his grandchildren and extended family circle. I did not know P. J. but listening to the tributes paid by the leader of Fianna Fáil, the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste, that was my loss. I also extend sympathy to the Fianna Fáil Party which has lost a diligent party activist who contributed much to it during his decades of public service. As we have heard, he was a member of Mayo County Council for more than 30 years, a Member of Seanad Éireann for five years and a Teachta Dála for 20 years. Although I never knew him, from all that I have read and been told about him, I know he was a committed public representative who worked diligently on behalf of the people of County Mayo and the Fianna Fáil Party. The big project with which he was associated was the airport at Knock. I do not know whether this is myth or fact, but I am advised that the airport project was cleared by the then Taoiseach, C. J. Haughey, on the understanding that it would have a grass runway. I do not know whether that is just one of the stories in County Mayo, but the fact that the airport is where it is says a lot for P.J.'s skills and Monsignor Horan.

Aside from the public service which we have noted and to which we have paid tribute, P. J. Morley was a husband, a father and a grandfather. We do not know about the private personal life of the man in the way that his wife does and the way his children and grandchildren do. However, his death will leave a huge gap in all of their lives. I am sure they take great comfort from knowing that throughout his long years of political activism he made a real difference to the lives of citizens and particularly the people of County Mayo. Go ndéanfaidh Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath On behalf of the Technical Group and Independent Deputies, I offer a fior fáilte den clann Morley. I express our sympathy on the passing last October of former Deputy P. J. Morley. I welcome his wife, Mary; daughter, Cathy; sons, Patrick, Enda and Brian; grandchildren and friends. I also welcome two former colleagues, Mr. John Carty and Mr. Sean Calleary. I also see one of his former colleagues in the Visitors Gallery, Senator Terry Leyden.

Like other speakers, I did not know P. J. Morley, but I have heard much about him and it was all about his good humour, hard work, honest endeavour and keen intellect. He served the public for 40 years. I do not think we will see the likes of this again. People gave service in difficult times without any of the support facilities we are fortunate to have available today. As with all families, this service will have taken its toll on his wife and family. Like the Taoiseach, he was a múinteoir. He went all the way from the corridors of Mayo County Council to the corridors of Strasbourg and Brussels as a member of the Council of Europe. He had a long life. As Deputy Micheál Martin noted, he was happy to help and provide assistance for new Teachtaí Dála. It is very important for new Deputies to have a role model who is willing to assist them. P. J. Morley was well liked on all sides of the political divide, whether in Mayo County Council or in this Chamber or during the five years he spent in Seanad Éireann. That says a lot for any man or former Member. He fought nine general elections and I am old enough to remember all of those elections. It was no mean feat to be returned to this House on so many occasions, having come in on the tide that brought Jack back. I hope the tide will bring the other Corkman back in days to come. It will be a different tide, that is, if the Taoiseach leaves us any House to come back to.

I can say to P. J. Morley's family that there are many monuments to his achievements in County Mayo, but, in particular, there is the testament of Knock regional airport, with which he was associated in company with the late great Monsignor Horan and Charles J. Haughey. I remember the opposition at the time from his colleagues on the other side of the political divide. However, the airport project was delivered and it is a lasting memorial to the three of them but, in particular, to the ground work done by and the sheer persistence of P. J. Morley, with some help, I am sure, from colleagues in County Mayo at the time. It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of the Technical Group, to heartily welcome his wife and family and wish them well. I am confident that they cherish the wonderful legacy he has left them. This is an emotional time for them. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

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