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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 Sean Fleming

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Snippet Contents:

I join in the expressions of sympathy for the late Paddy Lalor. I am in a unique position as I succeeded Paddy as the Fianna Fáil Deputy in the Laois constituency. When Paddy served the constituency, it was known as Laoighis-Offaly but in recent times the name has changed to Laois.
I want to speak about the man I knew. I looked up to, admired and respected Paddy Lalor, who always showed great interest in people and asked how they were getting along. He was a people's man. He was also straight and upfront and one always knew where one stood with him, as Deputies no doubt agree, judging from the comments of previous speakers.
Paddy Lalor had a positive outlook. This is very important for people in public life and it stood him well throughout his political career, from his election to Laois County Council and subsequently to Dáil Éireann and the European Parliament, to his appointment as a Government Minister and Member and Vice-President of the European Parliament. He was one of the few people who never lost an election, an achievement that is testimony to how well he was respected at local level. While a Member of the European Parliament, Paddy always had a very good working relationship with MEPs from Northern Ireland and often travelled back and forth to Brussels with them.
One of the proudest moments in Paddy Lalor's political career was when Irish people voted in a referendum to join what we now describe as the European Union. As a Government Minister at the time, he had campaigned strongly in favour of membership of the European Economic Community. Paddy will always be remembered in Laois as the Minister for Industry and Commerce who helped bring many IDA jobs to the county.
Paddy was a great sportsman, having played senior hurling and football for his county, and his keen interest in sport remained with him until the end. He attended his last inter-county championship football game in O'Moore Park, Portlaoise, earlier this year.
Paddy Lalor worked tirelessly for the Fianna Fáil Party and built up a strong cumann structure in County Laois, which survives and remains as strong as ever. I am very grateful to him for that. We are all very pleased that Paddy attended the launch of our general election campaign in Laois earlier this year. It may not be well known that he was the Fianna Fáil national director of elections for the 1987 general election, in which Fianna Fáil won 81 seats, the highest number ever achieved by the party in its 90-year history or by any political party since the foundation of the State.
I convey to Paddy Lalor's family a personal apology from the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Charlie Flanagan, who would have liked to have been present but is attending to official business.
Paddy Lalor was a great family man. I should place on record a family connection with Paddy as my brother, Leo, is married to his eldest daughter. Our families have a strong connection and I am happy to see everybody here today. His son, Joe, and daughters, Frances, Helen and Veronica, loved, admired and looked up to their father and were very proud of the man who was known in family circles as "Pops". I have no doubt Paddy and Myra are smiling down on us from heaven as we express our sympathies. Thank you Paddy for a great life. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.