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Martin, Micheál

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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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Deputy Micheál Martin

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Snippet Contents:

Ba mhaith liom comhbhrón a dhéanamh le clann Ted Nealon, lena bhean Jo, a mhac, Fergal, agus a iníon, Louise, as ucht a bháis. Níl aon amhras ann ach gurb iriseoir agus polaiteoir den scoth ab ea é. Chuir sé seirbhís poiblí chun tosaigh i rith a shaoil. Mar Theachta Dála agus mar Aire Stáit, d'oibrigh sé go dian agus go dícheallach ar son mhuintir na tíre. Táimid go léir buíoch de agus dá chlann dá bharr.
I add my voice to those of the Taoiseach and the Minister, Deputy Howlin, in expressing on behalf of my party and on my own behalf our deepest sympathies to the Nealon family - to Ted's wife, Jo, son, Fergal and daughter Louise on the death of their beloved father.
He was a ground-breaking person in terms of media and politics. In many ways I always had a strong affinity and affection for him. I can trace my real engagement with politics to the "7 Days" programme that has been mentioned. When I was a young second-level student in Coláiste Chríost Rí, we had a teacher whose instruction was, "Boys, will you go home tonight and watch "7 Days"? I'll ask ye questions about it tomorrow morning". Invariably about three or four of us would watch "7 Days". When the rest of the class saw the pattern developing they would say to a couple of us, "Would you get him talking about "7 Days" again because we've no homework done". Ever since, "7 Days", Ted Nealon and the late, great Brian Farrell were synonymous with that bit of mischief going on in a classroom in a second level school.
I trace my own motivation to become engaged with and involved in politics to the captivating broadcasting skill that Ted Nealon, Brian Farrell and others had. We can talk about all the junior certificate CSPE programmes we like, but that raw talent and ability to capture young people's imagination, to be engaged in a subject matter like politics, was a rare gift that we remember today when paying tribute to a person of the calibre of Ted Nealon.
He was highly capable and very intelligent, and was eloquent in his speeches and contributions to public life. As has been said, he moved from the media world where he had a key role in politics to politics, itself. Fundamentally what we acknowledge and remember today is the raison d'être of political life - giving of oneself to the public and being of service to the public, and he did that in an exceptional manner.
He was elected to represent Sligo-Leitrim in 1981 and served his constituents exceptionally well until 1997.