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Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

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Snippet Contents:

I thank the Leas-Cheann Comhairle for the opportunity to welcome to the House this afternoon the Killilea family, including his wife Anne, members of the extended Killilea family and Mark's close friend and colleague, Tom Craven. Mark Killilea was affectionately known to us in Galway East, and probably to many more across the country, as "Markeen", or if one was bold about it, one would ask, "Where's Killilea?". Mark was a legend. His name and deeds went before him and the tales we have heard today are all true. I was only a child when there was talk of the telephones Deputy Grealish referred to, but people were lucky if they got a telephone because then they knew they were in with Mark. That telephone gave them great hope.
Mark Killilea was friendly, popular and well-respected across all parties. He was a giant, not only in Galway politics but nationally and internationally. He held positions across the political spectrum, from councillor on Galway County Council, to Deputy, Minister and MEP. He always brought the same level of enthusiasm and dedication to all his work. As a public representative, he always worked hard for the people he represented or, to borrow the famous phrase, the people who ate their dinner in the middle of the day.
He did not have a Facebook or Twitter account during the many elections he contested. It was the family members, connections and respect he built up over the years that elected him. It is not easy to go out and get elected, particularly as he and Anne had eight young children at one time. The length of time he served at various levels has to be respected. Many of us would love to mirror that in our political careers. Now that we have Facebook and Twitter, we have a short pass to getting elected in some regards but Mark had to do it the hard way, as did many of his colleagues.
Mark was integral in reshaping the Irish telecoms network following his appointment as Minister of State at the Department of Posts and Telegraphs under Charles Haughey. I am sure he would have some interesting words to say on the broadband fiasco today. As a farmer, beef producer and silage contractor, Mark knew the many challenges facing farmers around the country, and he brought his experience to bear on the European stage when elected MEP for the Connacht-Ulster constituency. Mark played a key role in reforming the Common Agricultural Policy, ensuring small farmers received greater and fairer payments.
With regard to Mark's private life, we heard earlier about his love of golf but he also had a great love for Ballyconneely. He loved the Ballinrobe races and, above all, he loved Corofin GAA.