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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:

I do not know what more I can add to what has been said about Peter Kelly and Longford. Politics is a noble profession when practised morally and ethically. Those of us who practise the profession can make a positive contribution to society. Peter Kelly loved being a politician, not for the honour and glory but because he loved working for his community. He loved working for his beloved Longford and for her people. Throughout his career, whether at local or national level, he made a major and positive contribution to the town of Longford and the county of Longford and to so many people who live in the constituency.
Politics can be an emotive and competitive profession. I got to know Peter as part of a three-candidate strategy in the 2011 general election. Let us just say we were not at our best. There was a real fear that we might not get a seat at all in Longford-Westmeath. I have to say that throughout that election he ran such a fair and honest campaign. On not being re-elected he held no ill feeling towards me. On the day I came to sign in to Leinster House, Peter Kelly was in the Clerk of the Dáil's office thanking the staff for the courtesy they had shown him for the previous nine years. He offered to stand in for a photograph with me. On the wall was an outbox and an inbox for the post. Peter suggested that he should point to the outbox and that I should point to the inbox.
His loyalty to the party was evident in that general election and subsequently because he offered me his constituency office to hold my clinics. Even on days when I could not hold my clinics in Longford, he would offer to sit in and meet constituents on my behalf. He would frequently ring me about what was going on in Longford. As previous speakers said, he loved Longford, in particular, Longford GAA, Longford Town Football Club, Longford Rugby Club, and the Longford associations. He would be immensely proud of the large turnout of people from Longford who are in the Gallery today. In particular, I see Pauline, his secretary, who was so loyal to him throughout the years. I have no doubt that if Peter was around today, he would be out canvassing for Joe Flaherty, who is in the Gallery, because he saw in Joe some of himself, someone who, like him, had a real passion for Longford.
He was a very popular man. He was highly respected and loved by many. He had an enviable way with people because he would always stop and listen. He always had an interest in what the person he was with was saying. Regardless of whether he was dealing with the Taoiseach or some constituent who was down on his luck, Peter Kelly was the same. He was great company. Wherever I go, whether to the Council of Europe or any part of Ireland, and say that I represent Longford-Westmeath, I am asked whether I knew Peter Kelly. People always say he was great company, warm and engaging. They say he always made people feel good about themselves.
While Longford, public service and Fianna Fáil were all dear to Peter Kelly's heart, he was immensely proud of his family. When he dropped me a note with a constituent representation he would always finish off by saying that Maura sent her regards. When I was in the office with him meeting constituents, he was always immensely proud of how well his three children were doing in their respective fields. Today, we are joined by Maura, Emily, Peter - I know Joseph cannot be with us - and some of his siblings. To them I offer a heartfelt sympathy. He was a man of great faith and a man who believed in the next world. I have no doubt he is in the next world entertaining and engaging. When we meet him again, he will have many a good story to tell us. May he rest in peace.