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Snippet Contents:

It was with great sadness I learned earlier this year of the death of former Deputy and Minister of State, the late Ted Nealon. Today, on behalf of the Government and the Fine Gael Party, I convey my deepest sympathies to his wife, Jo, who is not with us in the House today, his son Fergal, his daughter Louise and extended family. Louise is watching this broadcast in Sydney, Australia.
Ted Nealon is sadly missed by all those who knew him in his personal and political life. Many of the younger and newer Members might not have known Ted Nealon as a person or a politician. Some who may not have been in politics at the time will have seen some of the programmes he conducted when he was a television broadcaster and political commentator.
It was a privilege and quite something to work with him and to be a beneficiary of what was a unique political brain of enormous capacity. It is something about which we know very clearly in Leinster House and the Dáil, as do those who were privileged to work with him in what, by any standards, was an exceptional career in politics and journalism. In the political aspect of his career he served proudly under two former taoisigh, Liam Cosgrave and the late Dr. Garret FitzGerald, and he did so with distinction as Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and later as Minister of State at the Department of An Taoiseach with responsibility for arts and culture. He was later appointed Minister of State at the Department of Posts and Telegraphs.
In every role he gave of his best, not alone as an exemplary public servant but as an exemplary compassionate and dignified human being. In every interaction he recognised the other person's humanity and dignity, which explains why when Ted's passing was announced it was met with such personal sadness and fond affection in the former constituency of Sligo-Leitrim. He touched people's lives with his sincerity and the common sense and insight for which he was well noted and for which he is now so deeply and personally missed.
Ted Nealon loved his county and everything about it. He loved the stories and the engagement of the characters of the day. He followed on from the late Eugene Gilhawley and the late Joe MacLachlan, two different personalities who represented the Sligo-Leitrim constituency. He loved Ben Bulben, Lissadell and Streedagh Strand where the lost armada lies. He was intrigued by the science of politics and the enthusiasm created by so many people. He was always excited about the political challenge and the stories that had to be contented with. He wrote many of them down in the book he published on tales from Leinster House.
He made a remarkable contribution to politics in Ireland, both as a practitioner and an analyst. I recall when he first came here to join the Fine Gael Party, working for the late Dr. Garret FitzGerald. He was the first person I saw in the House to use what was then described as the golf typewriter, on which all of the letters were on a central console. Ted, being a journalist, used to churn out letters, epistles and leaflets and eventually produced a paper for the party, which was very well received in Dublin and throughout the country. Those who were members of a much smaller party always wanted to be featured in it at some point.
I believe his fascination with politics was something that was infectious because he was very enthusiastic about it, not only because of policy statements or political interviews but because he crystallised all of this fascination into a specific resource that every aspiring politician, every student of politics and every political columnist and broadcaster has now as the foundation stone of their competence or their aspiration. It is known as Nealon's Guide, which he launched more than 40 years ago.