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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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Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

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Snippet Contents:

It is my privilege on my behalf and that of the Labour Party to join colleagues in expressing appreciation for a life extraordinarily well lived and remembering, on his passing, a Member of this House, the Seanad and the European Parliament who served our nation with such distinction. I send the condolences of my party to Fianna Fáil as well as the Killilea family. The Taoiseach is correct that it is important to take time out of the normal business of the House to reflect on colleagues who have passed on.
One of the words used in respect of Members of this House is "patriot". Various Deputies would define that word in different ways. I regard Mark Killilea as a patriot. He genuinely loved his country and was passionate about it and his personal beliefs. I did not agree with much of what he espoused. Mark and I came into the Seanad at the same time in the 1980s. I was delighted to be there, but I am not sure he was quite as happy to become a Senator, having previously served in this House and as a distinguished Minister of State. He was a very careful thinker with a clear vision of politics. Many people underestimated him, but he understood what he wanted to achieve and worked very hard on his objectives.
I had occasion to meet him outside the Houses once or twice in the Thomas Moore Tavern, a place of imbibement in my home town of Wexford, where he told me he was related to a person with whom I worked very closely for a very long time, namely, my special adviser, Anne Byrne. I did not quite work out the relationship between them, although I may figure it out over the course of the day. Anne certainly believed they were close relatives and was always in very close discussion with Mark when he visited.
Reference has been made to his passion for agriculture and rural life, of which he was a great defender, as well as his service in terms of telecommunications. In many ways, his time as a Minister of State, in combination with the senior Minister for telecommunications, allowed us to move on from the farcical situation whereby people were waiting for two years for a telephone connection. Everybody in need of a connection went to their local Deputy to make strong representations to get it, which was very bizarre. I am not sure whether it is true, but I was told that Mark always had a number of telephone devices in his car which he would give to constituents. They would still have to wait two years for a connection, but it gave them hope that they were closer to getting a connection.