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 Header Item Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy (Continued)
 Header Item Order of Business

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 821 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Martin Heydon: Information on Martin Heydon Zoom on Martin Heydon]  I heard that if Paddy was attending a meeting in Athy, perhaps on Woodstock Street or the Stradbally Road, he would park at the Grove Cinema at the opposite end of the town and give himself plenty of time to walk to the meeting to make sure he met as many people as possible along the way. That is a lesson for all of us in politics.

For somebody from an inland county like Kildare to be Minister with responsibility for fisheries, it does not cause too many problems with constituents, but for someone born and raised on the Curragh, there can be no greater honour than becoming Minister for Defence. I know it was a huge honour for Paddy, his family and the Fianna Fáil Party in general and it was a position he occupied with distinction. He also showed himself to be good at multi-tasking in serving as an MEP between 1977 and 1979.

Paddy had a long legacy in politics, but, with a wife and family of ten, he also had a long legacy outside it. Every family makes sacrifices when the father or husband is a Member of the Dáil, a Minister and a public representative. Days like today, however, prove that the sacrifices such families make are more than rewarded by the recognition of great public service such as that Paddy provided for the people of County Kildare. On behalf of Fine Gael and the people of Kildare South, I offer my sincere sympathy to the Power family and Fianna Fáil.

Deputy Anthony Lawlor: Information on Anthony Lawlor Zoom on Anthony Lawlor I, too, express my sympathy to the Power family. I first came across Paddy Power as a wee nipper in 1974 when my mother stood for election to the local council. He was a big man, not only physically but also as a presence in the county. I will always remember him as a family man. It reflects well on Kitty and Paddy that their family have turned out so well. They reared a tremendous family, each of whom is a decent person. We in County Kildare like decent and honest people. It is interesting to see that a family member from the third generation is trying to emulate what the father started out to do. I wish him the best in the future in politics, although not too much luck.

I got to know the members of the younger generation by playing football against them and meeting them in business. When my mother passed away and I was co-opted onto the council, the first person to take me under his wing to offer advice was Paddy Power. He reminded me that we had been elected by the people - although I was co-opted - and that our duty was to the people rather than the officials of Kildare County Council. I recall that when he stood up and was in flow, the officials became visibly nervous. He was the epitomy of what a local and national politician should be. We were on the board of directors of Kildare County Council and it was our duty to keep account of the officials. In fairness to Paddy, he taught me how I should treat officials. They were the servants of the people whom we were representing.

I had numerous opportunities to listen to Paddy as he regaled his audience. He always had Kitty by his side to give him a dig with her elbow if he got stuck in a story. There was never a shortage of good stories and he was always great company, whether he was telling a yarn or singing a song. On behalf of my own family who knew the Powers for many years, I offer my deepest sympathy. It was a big loss to County Kildare on the day Paddy passed away.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy I offer my sincere sympathy to the Power family. I know some of the family members well because I served with Paddy Power and his sons Seán and J. J. on Kildare County Council at various times since 1991. Paddy was elected in 1969 and served as a Deputy and a Minister. He had a lifetime of political experience behind him before I was elected to the council in 1991. Essentially, he was as an adversary.

Paddy was a very proud Kildare man and those of us who were blow-ins to the county got to know this quite quickly. As others noted, he was a devoted family man and we got to know not only him but also his wife, Kitty, because she accompanied him to many events. He was hugely proud of his large family. He was a terrific story teller and a social magnet because he would always be in the middle of a group telling his tales. One dared not to interrupt him because his story telling was always intense. The stories usually ended with the group erupting in laughter. I had the pleasure of being in a few of those huddles to hear his yarns. Some of his sons are lucky enough to inherit these traits.

It is often said politicians cut their political teeth at local level. Paddy was the one who ensured we cut our teeth as Opposition members. I was elected to the council after being involved in an acrimonious campaign on service charges during the 1980s and, as such, I arrived complete with cloven hooves. On my very first day he told me I need not think I was coming in to sweep out the cobwebs. He was putting down a marker straightaway. He was also fiercely loyal in whatever he was involved in. When he discovered by accident that some of my ancestors had been in Fianna Fáil, the ice melted and I was not seen in as bad a light as previously. Over time we made our peace, but I remember the great rows between him and Deputy Emmet Stagg which took up the first 30 minutes of every council meeting. They often resulted in a piece of poetry being devised.

The last time I met him was in Punchestown a few years ago. We had a great chat and it was nice to meet him as a friend. Again, I sympathise with his large family. I know he was proud of them and I am certain that they, in turn, were proud of the role he had played in the Parliament, for the State and County Kildare.

  Members rose.

Order of Business

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It is proposed to take No. 9, motion re referral to joint committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund Regulations 2013; No. 10, motion re leave to Introduce Supplementary Estimates -Votes 20 and 24; No. 11, motion re referral of Supplementary Estimates - Votes 20 and 24 - to select committee; and No. 4, Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2013 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage.

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