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Death of Former Members: Expressions of Sympathy

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Death of Former Members: Expressions of Sympathy

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Death of Former Members: Expressions of Sympathy

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Deputy Dara Calleary

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Snippet Contents:

I thank the Ceann Comhairle for that. I also thank the members of the Business Committee for the honour they have bestowed on us today, which is a very difficult day but one of which we as a family are very proud. I am proud of my Dad and his achievements in this House. He served here for 19 years and enjoyed every day he had the privilege of being here. He contested seven elections. For those who think this is an uncertain time, they should consider there were three elections in 14 months in 1981 and in 1982. Dad was honoured to serve as a Minister in a number of Departments but particularly loved the honour of being the Minister of State in the Department of Foreign Affairs in charge of overseas development aid.
He had a very good sporting track record, not something I have picked up. He played for an Oireachtas team in 1978 against the Westminster Wanderers, the Westminster soccer team. The former Taoiseach, Deputy Kenny, served on that team with him. As Deputy Brendan Howlin said, he would have been thrilled that Ireland beat the All Blacks last Saturday week but he would have been even more thrilled that on the same day Easkey GAA won its first Connacht championship. He also played with Easkey, even though it is a Sligo team. He would have enjoyed both wins.
He was very conscious of the honour of serving here, the integrity one had to have as a Member of this House, and of representing all of the people. My grandparents were both active in the War of Independence and in the Civil War. They raised my Dad and my uncle in a spirt of tolerance and respect for others. My Dad played sport all his life and while he played to win and played the ball hard, he respected opposition and opposition voices. If there is one thing we can do in this House now, it is to bear that in mind.
He would have been honoured to share this occasion with the late Seán Ardagh, somebody with whom he shared main traits. They were always fond of checking in on the Mayo relations of the Ardaghs. In as much as this is our loss, it is their loss - Máire's and Catherine's - as well. I am sure Catherine's Dad would have been delighted with all the endorsements she is getting from other sides of the House about taking the seat in the next general election. We will make sure that happens for him.
I thank all the party leaders for their warm words. Our grief is very private but it is very public. Dad would have been mortified by the turnout at the funeral, but I noted the Minister, Deputy Ring canvassed it well. There will be a few in the box for him from there.
I do not know if we have lost ourselves as a family in the past six months; is it possible to have a heart that is both broken and full of pride at the one time? It is. We are full of pride about the respect and integrity in which he is held and the memories people have of him. We aspire to live up to those memories and standards as we proceed forward. His view of politics was that it was not a game but a deadly serious profession, that we had to respect the people who put us here and to work collectively for those people.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam agus go raibh míle maith agat le gach duine sa Teach. I thank everybody here, the Members of my party for their support during his illness and since then, and all of the staff of the House beyond the Chamber for their support. We are very grateful.