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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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Deputy Noel Grealish

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Snippet Contents:

I welcome the Killilea family to the Distinguished Visitors Gallery today, especially his wife, Anne. The Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Canney, cannot be here today. He is caught up with ministerial business and he asked me to pass on his apologies.
I am delighted to have the opportunity to say a few words about Mark Killilea on behalf of the Rural Independent Group. I had the pleasure of knowing Mark. The first time I met him was in the 1980s. I was a member of Ógra Fianna Fáil and of the comhairle dáil ceantair for Fianna Fáil. We were at a meeting in Flannery's Hotel after the local elections. We were waiting for the results of the council elections to see what had happened. The make-up of the council at the time was tight. The door burst open and in came Mark. He was absolutely fuming. They had lost the vote for the chain of office of Galway County Council that day. Two councillors who were members of Sinn Féin switched and voted with Fine Gael. Mark gave a memorable speech that night. I will not repeat any of it here.
My late father, Peter, was a great supporter of Mark. He canvassed for Mark during many elections. Deputy Howlin touched on the story of the telephone lines. I remember my father coming home one night when he was fuming. He said that if he saw another telephone handed or bought into a house he would be mad. People would point to the telephone and say that Mark gave it to them and told them they would have the line within three or four months, but they did not get it within that time. My father was getting abuse from the odd house. I am delighted to say the people did get the line eventually and the telephones began working.
He was a keen golfer. I often met him out in Ballyconneely when we had our Oireachtas outings. Mark was president when I was captain. People never really see Donie Cassidy losing his cool as secretary of the Oireachtas golf society but I remember the day I was captain. I was hosting the captain's prize. We allocated two hours in the morning for Mark from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Oireachtas Members then had from 10 a.m. to noon and then the guests had time. It was a bad wet windy morning but the weather was to clear at 10 a.m. Mark told all his guests and friends who were playing to turn up at 10 a.m. There was utter chaos. The Taoiseach at the time, Deputy Enda Kenny, came to play. He was supposed to be playing at 10.30 a.m. He did not get out until 11.15 a.m. Donie Cassidy lost it. There was chaos on the tee box. No one could find Mark. He eventually arrived at 11.30 a.m. or so with a smile from ear to ear. He told Donie to calm down and that it was alright because everyone had got out onto the course. I will not repeat what Donie said.
Mark had many highs in his life and many lows. I remember calling at the house at the time when his son, Mark, died tragically. It was a tough time and a sad time for his wife, Anne, and the Killilea family.
Mark had a long and distinguished carrier in politics. Deputy Ó Cuív might touch on the story told in Galway County Council. When the agenda came out, Mark would look at it. If there was nothing exciting or nothing to have a row about, he would contact John Donnellan, the Fine Gael councillor. John was another avid golfer. They would arrange among themselves to have a blazing row in the council chamber so that they could grab a headline. Perhaps Deputy Ó Cuív might expand on the matter, but that was the story we were told.
Mark had a long and distinguished career in politics. He was from a great political family. He served in the Seanad and Dáil. He was a Minister of State and a member of the European Parliament. On behalf of the Rural Independent Group and on my behalf I wish to offer my sympathies to his wife, Anne, following her loss. I also wish to offer my sympathies to Eidín, Niamh, Deirbrin, Niall and Donagh. I congratulate Donagh on the birth of the child. It is great to see the name Mark continuing the legacy. I hope Donagh will have a long career in politics and that Mark will follow suit. I offer my sympathies to Medbh and Eimhín, as well as to Mark's sisters, Brid and Vera, and his adored grandchildren. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.