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Barrett, Richard Boyd

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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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Snippet Contents:

On behalf of Solidarity-People Before Profit, I extend my sympathy and condolences to the Harte and Barnes families. Both of the deceased were a bit before my time and I would not have been that familiar with Paddy's record but it has been very impressive to listen to it recounted here. I congratulate the Harte family and pay tribute to them for putting up with the travel Paddy would have done up and down from Donegal to here for 30 years. If I stayed in here for 30 years, my young fellas would absolutely kill me. The family must be very proud of such a record. To stick at it for that long shows extraordinary stamina if nothing else. The Island of Ireland Peace Park in Belgium is an extraordinary achievement for which the family should be very proud.
I know that Deputy Seán Barrett will have a lot more to say about Monica Barnes. I am not sure if I ever met her. It is quite possible I did because my aunt Janet Kinsella, who was a stalwart of the Fine Gael Dún Laoghaire branch certainly would have known her and known Deputy Barrett also. It is very possible I met Monica at family occasions. As a young fella, up to no good on the streets of Dún Laoghaire and before I took any great interest in politics, I would have certainly been more than familiar with the names of Barnes, Barrett and Cosgrave as they were emblazoned across the lamp posts of Dún Laoghaire. Although I would not have shared the Fine Gael affiliation, and I had many robust debates with my aunt Janet on politics, I was aware of Monica's central role in the fight for women's rights in this country, her opposition to the 1983 wording of the eighth amendment to the Constitution, her support for the right to divorce and her historic role in a broader social movement to achieve rights and equality for women. With the tremendous changes that have happened with the recent vote to repeal the eighth amendment to the Constitution, we cannot say anything other than we owe a debt of gratitude to trailblazers like Monica Barnes, and many others who are not still with us and who fought against the tide in those early days when it was neither profitable nor popular to do so. Her family deserve to be very proud of that. It is sad that she is not here to see the great victory that has been the long-term impact of a struggle that people like Monica Barnes started many years ago. My sympathy and condolences go to her family.