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 Header Item Leaders' Questions (Continued)
 Header Item Business of Dáil
 Header Item Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 806 No. 2

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  11 o’clock

Deputy Niall Collins: Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins Tommy Morris will circulate it for him.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath What the Bill asks us to do, as legislators, is to set aside entirely the medical knowledge we have and to legislate instead in defiance of science, and explicitly to contradict the best medical practice in the absence of legal justification for legislation. I hope the Taoiseach read the transcripts. I know he had not time to attend the hearings as he has been all over Europe and elsewhere, but it is very important that the listens to this advice.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Thank you, Deputy.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath I put it to the Taoiseach that, for all his warm assurances, we can have absolutely no confidence that the State will act in the best interests of the unborn child-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Thank you.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath -----especially when the State has a litany of historical failures already existing regarding the lives of unborn children.

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Like saving the mother.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath From start to finish, this so-called debate has been a sham and a charade.

  Finally, we saw the Minister for Health last night on "Prime Time"-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett A question, please.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath I am finished. We saw him last night. My question is this. Will the Taoiseach listen to the people? Will he give a free vote? Will he not go to the country, ask the people for their opinion and allow the ultimate democracy?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan The Deputy should circulate his script.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny First, the Government takes its legal advice from the Attorney General, who is the legal adviser to the Government in a formal sense. That is where the Government takes its advice from.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath It is a form of words.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Second, the Government is required to legislate for the X case. The Government does not have a requirement to legislate arising from the A, B and C case but it does have a requirement to provide legal clarity from that.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Guidelines.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny That is what Government will do. I want Deputy McGrath to understand that on two occasions in the past the people were consulted. The people are the masters here, and they confirmed-----

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Why not give them the chance again? Third time lucky.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny They confirmed and re-endorsed the constitutional rights of women in this country to have a termination of a pregnancy in specific circumstances. Those specific circumstances are where there is a threat to the life of the mother. The termination of a pregnancy running to full term, as the Deputy is well aware, can mean the birth of the child. Obviously, once the foetus becomes viable-----

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath The Minister, Deputy Reilly, could not answer as to what happens then.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----the termination of a pregnancy will mean the birth of that child and the saving of both lives - the mother and the child.

I want the Deputy to understand that this is a sensitive issue. I am now being branded by personnel around the country as being a murderer, and that I am going to have on my soul the death of 20 million babies. I am getting medals, scapulars, plastic foetuses, letters written in blood, telephone calls all over the system-----

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath We are all getting those.

Deputy John Halligan: Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan That is correct.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----and it is not confined to me.

  I want to say this clearly. Everybody in this country is entitled to have their say. I saw the response from the meeting at the weekend. I do not agree with many of the statements that have been made - I do not agree with them. My job, as Taoiseach, is to lead the Government in governing for the people of our country.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath What about his campaign promise?

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae That is forgotten about.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Would the Deputies please be quiet?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny That is not confined to any sector of the people - it is for all of the people.

Deputies: Hear, hear. Well said.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Therefore, I am proud to stand here as a public representative, as a Taoiseach who happens to be a Catholic but not a Catholic Taoiseach. I am a Taoiseach for all of the people - that is my job, while I have it. I am proud to lead the Government in governing for all our people - all our people - irrespective of the sector of society that they come from.

Deputy Robert Dowds: Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds Especially the women.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny That is my duty; that is my responsibility. The Government that I am proud to lead will act strictly in accordance with our constitutional responsibilities and inside the law. What we are doing here is a requirement to provide certainty and clarity for medical personnel and for women who are involved. As I said before, this is about saving lives, not ending them.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Business of Dáil

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I would like, on behalf of us all, to welcome to the Distinguished Visitors Gallery, Mrs. Mary Morley, the widow of the late P.J. Morley, her daughter, Cathy, and sons, Patrick, Enda and Brian. I understand the Taoiseach wishes to change the Order of Business so we would have the Expressions of Sympathy now. Is that agreed? Agreed.

Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Táimid bailithe anseo chun comhbhrón a dhéanamh le clann P.J. Morley agus, mar aon le sin, léiriú do chách an méad measa a bhí againn go léir air agus an méid oibre a rinne sé ar son muintir na tíre, go háirithe ar son mhuintir Mhaigh Eo. Nuair a fuair P.J. bás i mí Dheireadh Fómhair seo chaite, bhí sé soiléir do gach éinne ag an tóramh an méid measa a bhí ag muintir Chnoc Mhuire agus ag muintir na dúiche mór-thimpeall air. Is léir go raibh P.J. ar a shuaimhneas i measc na ndaoine agus go raibh na daoine ar a suaimhneas le P.J. Fear mór na dúiche ab ea é. Bhí sé ina mhúinteoir agus ina pholaiteoir den scoth. Bhí tionchar faoi leith aige ar chúrsaí eacnamaíochta, soisialta agus cultúrtha i Maigh Eo agus san tír. D'oibrigh sé go dian dícheallach ar son ghnáth mhuintir a dháilcheantair agus na tíre. Cuirim fáilte go háirithe roimh a bhean, Mary, a iníon, Cathy, agus Patrick, Enda agus Brian, agus le John Carty, a comhghleacaí, agus an tIar-Aire, Sean Calleary, atá anseo inniu.

P.J. Morley was a decent, modest man, who committed his life's work to public service to his country and, in particular, to the people of Mayo. I would again like to offer my sincere condolences to P.J.'s wife, Mary, his daughter, Cathy, his sons, Patrick, Enda and Brian, and, of course, his beloved grandchildren.

I met P.J. when I was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1989. In trying to come to grips with this tumultuous House, and the difficulties that a new Deputy can encounter, I found P.J. a calming influence who showed us the ropes of Leinster House and who gave quiet guidance in the early years of my own political career. Many of us were thankful to him for that kind of guidance in a period which was quite exciting for different reasons, and where there were significant personalities about the place - on all sides, may I say.

He was a man with quiet determination. He went out and got the job done. It is fair to say he was very well liked across the political divide and he had great time for people, with his natural, quiet warmth of character. Starting out, this was a strength he carried with him as a teacher. From his home in Mayo, he brought that into the corridors of Leinster House and beyond to the halls of the Council of Europe at Strasbourg.

Beneath that unassuming nature and distinctive good fun, however, there was a driving commitment to public service and to looking after people. That commitment saw him first elected to Mayo County Council in 1969, a position he held for three decades before he retired. During that time, he also had the honour of serving as Cathaoirleach of the county and distinguished himself in that office. This was a commitment to public service that led him to fight nine gruelling general elections. As some will remember, these represented some of the fiercest electoral campaigns this country has ever seen. He was first elected in 1977, with the landslide victory of then Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, and beginning, as we know, a fairly turbulent period in Irish politics. However, throughout the turbulence and controversies, he managed to serve the people with characteristic dignity and modesty.

The infrastructural benefits of his work in the Dáil and the council are still to be seen in Mayo today in road and water projects across the county. They, in themselves, represent a lifetime of hard work and effort on behalf of the people of Mayo to secure vital investment for the west. He never lost sight of why he was here. He was in Dáil Éireann, he was a man of the people and he wanted to achieve for his people.

We do not have to look far to find what P.J.'s most remarkable achievement was.


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