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O'Connell, Kate

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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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Kate O'Connell

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Snippet Contents:

I thank the Ceann Comhairle. I welcome the Kelly family here today. I wish to pay tribute to Peter Kelly, Longford, Ireland, as he introduced himself to me back in the day. I got to know him through Emily and Peter, as they studied pharmacy with me in the early noughties. The issue that emerged was how we would get home to vote so that I could cancel out a Fianna Fáil vote. The UK examinations did not fall in with the electoral cycle here.
Peter Kelly, as everyone has said, loved Longford and his family. He was so proud of his children and always so respectful of Maura Kelly. In the Kelly home, I always felt that I was welcome and that I was being listened to. As Deputy Troy said, he had the skill of being equally engaged with whomever he met, whether young or old, rich or poor, man or woman. To Peter it was all research and development.
Over the years we sat and talked politics at gatherings. He told me stories that were essentially framed to teach me a few lessons. Peter knew there was no converting me to Fianna Fáil but he did hold a deep respect for anyone who wanted to serve the public.
Peter Kelly was perhaps one of the funniest people I have ever met. The stories are infamous. He handed out undertaker business cards during a period of turbulence on a flight. He managed to dampen people's fears while getting his name out there. Each story was the stuff of urban myth but was actually carried out by Peter Kelly. He made us laugh more than his quota and when we thought we could not laugh anymore, he landed a supplementary punchline. His children learned early to be resilient on account of some of the stuff he did. On one occasion a body needed to be removed from the airport mortuary. Emily needed to get to the airport to get back to Brighton. Peter saw this as killing two birds with the one stone, so Emily was placed in the passenger seat with her rucksack behind in the empty hearse. They went up to Dublin Airport and he deposited Emily with great grace at the front door. He opened the boot with drama, took out the rucksack and openly wondered what all the drama was about and why she would be embarrassed since she was lucky to get a lift to Dublin rather than have to get the bus.
Peter was a real politician, a man who spent time with the people and who relayed their messages. He loved people and engaging with people. He loved life and lived it to the hilt. He got to meet all of his beautiful grandchildren and share in family events that he treasured so much in his final years. He had beside him, or, if not beside him, then not too far away, the woman who is Maura Kelly or "The Oracle", as we all referred to her back in the day. Maura kept the show on the road. She knew when enough was enough after a late night. She held everything together at home while Peter did what Peter was best at. No one will ever forget Peter Kelly and he forgot no one he met. We will never see the like of him again in Ireland.