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Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy (Continued)

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 984 No. 6

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Anne Rabbitte: Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte] That is where he spent time with his family and where many of his family memories were created and they are still talked about to this day. His young grandson, Shane, talks about going to Ballyconneely and he asked my son to join him for a weekend there to do some swimming. That is what memories are about. There was also talk about Ballinrobe races. Shane is not joining us here today but I hope later in Irish college they will listen to what Deputy Micheál Martin, our leader, said. The teacher might test them on translating it very well.

Not only is Mark greatly missed by his wife, Anne, and his family he is also missed by the Fianna Fáil organisation in Tuam where he spent a long time and spoke great words of wisdom and offered direction. I was one of the people who benefited from Mark’s words of wisdom. I visited him about three and a half years ago in Caherhugh House, where he sat me down and gave me a cup of tea. When Mark gave you a cup of tea he also gave you words of wisdom, and you listened eagerly because he was setting you on the right path. That half day I spent with him in Caherhugh House where he gave me direction set me on the right road to contest a general election. I will be ever grateful to Mark and his family for sharing that space.

We remember fondly today Donagh, Anna, Tess and their baby, Mark junior who was born today, and also Niamh, who is not with us. They are here with us in spirit and I have no doubt they are listening in. It is important to say that Donagh is a chip off the old block when it came to sharing words of wisdom and knowing how to cut a deal but one would always have to keep a good eye on him at the same time because the trickery and jovialness of the Killileas is still there.

Mark Killilea and his role in Irish politics will be remembered forever. He was a legend in his lifetime but he will continue to be a legend after his passing.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I call Deputy Eugene Murphy who, in terms of representation, claims part of Galway.

Deputy Eugene Murphy: Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy I do not intend to engage the House too long on the basis that our party leader has covered everything. As Deputy Rabbitte was speaking, I was thinking that we now have the constituencies of Roscommon-Galway, Galway East and Galway West but it used to be known for many years as Roscommon-East Galway and Galway West. As our party leader pointed out, Mark originally came from Ballinamore Bridge in east Galway, which is now part of my constituency.

I welcome Anne, his wife, many members of his family, many of his grandchildren and friends who are here today. I first met Mark when I was appointed chairman of Ógra Fianna Fáil in County Roscommon, which is a good few years ago now. I always remember him for his enthusiasm. He always struck me as being very confident, astute and good at organising politics, canvasses and people. I believe it is accepted by everybody, regardless of what side of the House one is on, that Mark, as a junior spokesperson in the then Department of Posts and Telegraphs, along with Albert Reynolds revolutionised telecommunications at that time. If he was still with us together, I have no doubt that he and Albert Reynolds would find a way around the difficulties we have with the provision of broadband.

We should never forget the role he played in Europe, which was quite remarkable. Specifically, I mention the Common Agricultural Programme, CAP, and his many valuable ideas and contributions towards the framing of it. Also, in education, he played a major role in securing finance from Europe for a regional technical college, which was vital for young people particularly in many towns in rural areas.

When I was in Ógra Fianna Fáil we were at a meeting and referring to the CAP and people were saying there would be millions for this and for that but Mark said to me, "Gasúr, never mind talking about the millions, have you sheep farmers living close to you?" to which I replied I had and he said: "Tell them it will mean they will make IR£10 a head extra on their ewe". He broke it down like that in a practical way for people.

It was good to know him. I always loved his company. As Deputy Micheál Martin said, he was certainly a gregarious character. I am delighted to have had a few minutes to express my sympathy. Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I ask the House to bear with me as we have run on a little. The Killilea and MacSharry families were inextricably linked. I will allow Deputy MacSharry a minute to say a few works.

Deputy Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry I welcome Anne, Eidín, Niamh, Deirbrin, Niall, Donagh is here in spirit, Medbh, Eimhín, Bid, his sister, Vera is not here with us today, and we have special memory for Mark junior today. I welcome also his grandchildren. I welcome Mr. Tom Craven, as a representative of the many tens of thousands of people who supported the Killilea family and politics through the generations, as others have said. He was not only a great loyal friend and supporter of Mark Killilea who we are discussing, but of his father, the original Mark, and he is key to Donagh’s political career as it continues. He is a most appropriate representative of all who supported the Killileas through the year. Tom is very welcome here.

Family and loyalty was everything to the Mark Killilea that I have known all my life. It epitomised all his work and actions. It did not require a report from PwC or KPMG or consideration by a sub-agency: Mark Killilea was guided by the people. The Taoiseach alluded to the fact that there is coarseness in politics now. While we may have developed that coarseness, what we have truly lost is the fact that giants of the tradition of public representation like Mark Killilea were guided by the people. That was in every single thing that he did.

Mark mentored many in their political careers, some of whom went on to be Commissioners, taoisigh, leas-cheann comhairlí, Senators and TDs, including myself in my own political career which started in 2002. Much of that mentoring took place - the Leas-Cheann Comhairle will not mind me mentioning this - in 30, Clareville Road, Harold’s Cross in an era when public representatives in the Dáil and the Seanad were not resourced in terms of expenses to be able to say in hotels, as we are lucky enough to be able to do today. In terms of TDs and Senators, the originals were Mark Killilea, Ray MacSharry, Pat the Cope Gallagher, the late Flor Crowley and former Senator Bernard McGlincey. If only the walls of No. 30 could talk, there was much wisdom imparted by Mark Killilea to other people who went on to have very successful carers in their own right. While they were the originals, later there was the former Minister, John Browne, and the former Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, who all went there.

As alluded to by others, and I have the express permission of the author, Mark Killilea’s fingerprints were all over the CAP reforms of the 1990s. Its passage and commentary through the European Parliament, as alluded to by the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, was at the hands and behest of the extraordinary ability that Mark Killilea had to bring people with him. He was a giant in the tradition of public representation, a man who was all graces and no airs. While those of us who entered public life and are in it after he is gone would seek to try to walk in his steps, nobody will ever fill his shoes.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Minister of State, Deputy Canney, has retuned from his ministerial duties. I will allow him to make a brief intervention, even though he was not forgotten.

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Seán Canney): Information on Seán Canney Zoom on Seán Canney I thank the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. I apologise for not being here. I was at a ministerial function and I had to pull myself away from it to try to get here. If I get a fine for speeding, we will know why; it was all Markeen’s fault.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Have a word with the Minister, Deputy Shane Ross, about it. The Minister of State will be all right.

Deputy Seán Canney: Information on Seán Canney Zoom on Seán Canney He will be all right. As Mark's neighbour and a family friend, it is important to say that the Killileas and Canneys were always great friends and they still are.

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