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Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

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Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

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Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

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Snippet Contents:

On behalf of the Fine Gael Party and the Government, I wish to sympathise with the Fianna Fáil Party on the passing of the late Paddy Power. Today would have been Paddy's 85th birthday. As Deputy Martin indicated, he was first elected to the House in 1969. I was always happy to meet him in the environs of the Dáil because of his remarkable strength and sense of humour about life in general and about the activities that took place here and his part in them. I am not sure whether he acquired that from his family, as a result of his years as a primary school teacher or on the basis of his own observations of life. However, he was always on the point of bursting into laughter, regardless of how difficult a situation might have been. He served the Fianna Fáil Party on a number of occasions in the House when, as he would have said himself, things were "ropey enough".
Paddy served with a great degree of distinction and pride as Minister for Defence. He came from the Curragh in County Kildare and was very proud of his seal of office, of the fact that he had responsibility for the Defence Forces and of those who served in the Army, the Naval Service and the Air Corps. He also served as Minister for Fisheries and Forestry and Minister for Trade, Commerce and Tourism. I held the latter portfolio in later years under the title of Minister for Tourism and Trade. Paddy Power represented Leinster in the European Parliament and I know that he regaled those he came across there with stories of Ireland in a very Irish way. Those who met him recognised that he was a fount of wisdom, endeavour, realism and humour. Deputy Martin is correct: I am sure there were thousands of occasions when - at locations throughout the country, but particularly in his constituency - the melodic voice of Paddy Power was heard reciting stories. I am sure those present listened in some wonder.
Paddy's personality was extraordinary and, as the Ceann Comhairle is aware, he related to people at all levels. The latter led to his being regarded with a great sense of fondness by the people of Kildare. The Kildare Nationalist put it very well when it stated: That is a very fair summation of somebody who crossed the landscape of Kildare on so many occasions and who became part of the fabric of the county and its community. His personality and passion were inherited by his son Seán, who later represented the same Dáil constituency and who upheld his father's legacy in the House. Seán is present with us this evening.
I am not quite sure that the comhairle Dáil ceantair meeting of the Fianna Fáil Party to which Deputy Martin referred was the only one that made international headlines. I could supply him with a long list of such meetings. On one occasion, Seán Lemass was quoted as stating that Fianna Fáil was a slightly constitutional party. In my part of the country, there have been some wonderful exponents of the art of Fianna Fáil-ism. Many of the activities that took place at comhairle Dáil ceantair meetings made national and international headlines.
The loan of Paddy Power to Ireland, the Dáil and Kildare by Kitty, his wife, and their family has been replicated on many occasions by others, but one has to be in the job in order to understand the impact politics can have on family life and relationships. If the spouses of those who serve here do not understand what public service is all about, then it is extremely difficult for them to do their job to the best of their ability. The vast majority of people here - myself included - understand how important the support of family is, and we are very grateful to Kitty Power for what she did for Ireland and Kildare by lending them her late husband, Paddy. Kitty did so out of both love and an understanding of what family means. I thank her and all of her ten fine children - J. J., Mary, Gerry, Brendan, Seán, Patsy, Tony, Enda, Rosario and Loreto. As Paddy would have said, they had three quarters of a Gaelic football team.
Paddy served his constituency, his county and his country with distinction.