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Snippet Contents:

I am grateful for this opportunity to offer my condolences and pay tribute to two people who served this country with honour and distinction. They both helped us as a country to come to terms with our history and in doing so enabled us to build a better future.
Paddy Harte was an architect of peace and reconciliation on our island, building bridges across communities. His lasting achievement is the Island of Ireland Peace Park at Messines, made possible by working with people from different backgrounds, different perspectives and different traditions for a greater good. It is a reminder of the shared history on our island and a symbol of hope for the future. Paddy Harte helped us to decommission sectarian views about our history and educated us about how we can remember and commemorate the sacrifices of the past with honour. It is remarkable that in a political career which spanned 36 years in this House and a short but successful stint as a Minister of State that nobody ever had a bad word to say about him. He was a gentleman who always saw the good in others, an approach that helped dismantle barriers on both sides of the Border. If things turned out differently, Paddy Harte might have spent his life as a successful butcher in Donegal but instead he served the people of Donegal north east a different way, by turning his own home into a railway station and always welcoming people who needed help. Paddy Harte will be remembered as a patriot who reminded us that love of country does not require us to hate anyone else. It is a lasting legacy. Today, we remember his wife, Rosaleen, their children, Mary, Paddy, Anne, Jimmy, Róisín, Eithne, Johnny, Garrett and Emmett and their 24 grandchildren and many friends. Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam. Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís.
In recent months, we have also paid tributes in this House to whistleblowers who stood up for the truth at great personal cost. In many ways, Monica Barnes was a political whistleblower. She was someone I knew personally and someone who called time on a culture that was, in her words, "bleak, guilt ridden, repressed". Often she was criticised and sometimes she was harassed but she never wavered. Monica Barnes led the way with courage and good humour, always polite, always seeking a better way. She was a fearless campaigner for change in the way she championed women's rights and the way she demanded that care and compassion be shown to people in difficult situations. She was a pioneer of social liberalism in my own party, a founding member of the Council for the Status of Women, a Senator, a Deputy faithfully representing the people of Dún Laoghaire and she was an inspiration for many people around the country, in particular young people and young women in Fine Gael and beyond.
I feel though that if she were with us here today she would not let us get away with nice tributes without acknowledging that we have still so much more to do. We have much more to do before we realise her vision for Ireland and we will do that and remember that her courage and determination helped point the way for us. Today, our sympathies are with her husband Bob, their daughters Sarah and Joanne, her sister Angela and brother Colm, as well as their grandchildren, extended family and friends. We also remember her beloved son Paul, who sadly predeceased her.
Monica's family and friends can be proud of a true political pioneer who helped to make our country a much kinder, more modern and overall better place.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílis.