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Snippet Contents:

In accordance with the order of the House from yesterday, we now proceed to expressions of sympathy on the deaths of our former colleagues, Brendan McGahon of Louth and Seymour Crawford of Cavan-Monaghan.
Before calling Members to offer their tributes to our departed colleagues, I welcome the families of Brendan McGahon and Seymour Crawford to the Distinguished Visitors Gallery. Brendan is represented by his daughters Jill and Adele, his son Conor and their family; and Seymour is represented by his nephews, Andrew and Alistair, and niece, Kirsten. They are very welcome to Leinster House today. This is a sad day for them all, but I hope that the memories shared here in Dáil Éireann will serve to support them as we pay tribute to two much respected and distinguished former Members.
I did not have the privilege of knowing Brendan McGahon personally; he retired from this House in 2002, the year I was first elected to Dáil Éireann. He was from a long line of political activists in Louth, stretching back over many decades. It is fitting that that tradition is continued by his nephew, John, a familiar face for many of us in Leinster House today.
Few of us would doubt that Brendan's 20 years here were on occasion politically colourful and sometimes contentious with views on a wide range of issues which divided opinion nationally as well as in the county he clearly represented with such pride. He was a man of his own independent views, firmly expressed, with such independent voices making our parliamentary tradition all the richer.
He also struck up many seemingly unlikely associations and friendships during his time in this Chamber, finding common cause with equally committed public representatives which transcended personality and tribal politics. As Brexit threatens the peace, stability and economic well-being of places such as his beloved Dundalk, we need to continue to find common cause as Brendan often did for the greater good for all citizens we are honoured to represent in this Chamber.
I did know Seymour Crawford very well and held him in high regard. I had the honour of serving on the agriculture committee with him. While the stony grey soil of his home county was different from the land I farm in Kildare, his deep knowledge of farming, farmers and the concerns and challenges facing that community found a firm and vocal advocate on that busy committee.
As well as the agriculture committee and many considered contributions here in the Dáil Chamber during his years with us, Seymour was an active and long-serving Member of the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body subsequently the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly. As we mark the centenary of the First Dáil as an integral part of our decade of commemorations, I salute in particular the work Seymour undertook in advocating cross-Border co-operation and understanding, work this fine, upstanding and decent man undertook with quiet efficiency and delicacy.
Both Brendan McGahon and Seymour Crawford served this House with distinction and fortitude. As Ceann Comhairle, I offer my renewed condolences to their families who should take great comfort in the patriotism shown by both Brendan and Seymour.