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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:

Cuirim fáilte roimh Susan agus roimh an chlann anseo inniu. I am delighted on behalf of the Rural Independent Group to be able to pay tribute to an t-iar-Theachta Peter Mathews, a man of principle above anything else. He was principled to his fingertips. He was quiet but determined. Above all, he was respectful of all sides and of all people. He died aged 65, unfortunately. He had fought a brave battle even during the election.
Peter was elected as a Fine Gael Deputy in the 2011 general election for the Dublin South constituency. His constituents meant so much to him. He met and listened to so many families who had been horribly affected by the banking collapse and he was deeply passionate about helping them make some headway. The number of times he stood up on the Order of Business has been mentioned and he was intent on raising it every other day with the then Taoiseach, Deputy Enda Kenny, because he was so disturbed by the banking situation. Indeed, the legacy remains today. I do not know how many times he went down to Ballyhay. I can say to my shame that I never went down but he travelled there on several Sunday mornings. He knew what the construct of National Asset Management Agency, NAMA, was and he did not like it. He knew there had to be other ways. He always maintained his dignity when he was meeting people about that issue.
I travelled to the United States with him and there was not be a finer person to be with. He was a qualified chartered accountant who worked for companies such as Coopers and Lybrand, now PwC, and the ICC Bank. He knew what we did not know. We were here talking about a monstrosity of a situation but Peter understood it. To be fair, very few people listened to him in here but he knew it. It was in his being. He was educated, smart, straight and above all honest.
He was deeply concerned with issues of conscience. It hurt him greatly to have been expelled from his party for voting with his conscience, having made up his mind on those issues.
He cared passionately about Susan and his four children. Any time we were in company with him, he always talked about them fondly and proudly. Some had gone to Australia and different places. He was passionate about and proud of them at all times.
He was always interested in doing good and would not countenance anything critical. He could have fun in banter. I remember I had an intern working for me who was from a foreign land. She invited us to her house and five or six of us agreed to go. She invited us for a meal and it took several hours. We had plenty of time to talk about her own traditions. Peter made a commitment to go and he honoured that. We had a wonderful night. To be in his company at any time was refreshing and inspiring. He is a huge loss to his family. It is nearly a year since he passed away. They miss his advice, his care and his wisdom.
I hate to bring this up but I was horrified when he succumbed to illness and awful things were said on Facebook and social media. We must deal with that because there is no place for that in any democracy. He was a decent man. I was horrified that the Minister, Deputy Madigan, was going to share a platform last week with one of the people who said those things. We have to think of our colleagues, of respect, of dignity and of the family, and be proud. If he was here today, he would be overwhelming in his campaign to retain the eighth amendment. Ar dheis Dé go raibh anam dílis Theachta Peter Mathews.