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Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy (Continued)

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 840 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Niall Collins: Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins] In doing so, we travel the highways and byways of our constituencies. Many times, I had an opportunity to meet Peadar Clohessy at a funeral, a crossroads or a public function. In fairness to him, he always had time for me or to have a quiet word. I could ask for his opinion or advice. I am eternally grateful to him for that advice, his perspective and his insight, which he was more than willing to share with me. He had years of experience and a wealth of knowledge. It was great to be able to tap into them.

  Proper mention has been made of Peadar's late wife, Jean, who pre-deceased him. From my contacts with the Clohessy family, I know that she was an immense rock of support for Peadar throughout their marriage, their life together and his political career. It is only fitting that she has been mentioned today.

  In an obituary on Peadar written not long after his funeral, the headline in The Irish Times described him as a politician "who was committed to his native Limerick". This was true, but his overarching commitment was to his family - his sons, Andrew, Patrick and Michael, and his daughters, Alice, Margaret and Sinéad. Their loss is immense. However, I am sure that they are warmly comforted by the considerable depth of goodwill that exists and will live on for a long time because of the actions of Peadar Clohessy in carrying out his role as an outstanding public servant. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Deputy Kieran O'Donnell: Information on Kieran O'Donnell Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell I welcome the Clohessy family to the Visitors Gallery. It is great to see so many of the family today. I am delighted to be a part of these expressions of sympathy to the late Peadar.

I had a quick look back. Peadar was born in 1933. People referred to his connection with the GAA. He was born when Limerick hurling was coming out of the doldrums and just before a golden age. We won All-Irelands in 1934, 1936 and 1940. His uncle, the late Paddy Clohessy, played in all of those All-Irelands. I hope that, in 2014, Limerick will go on to take another hurling All-Ireland.

Peadar had a fantastic career that spanned 25 years. In 1974, he was elected to Limerick County Council for the Castleconnell electoral area, which I also represented. He was in the local authority until 1999 and served as cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council between 1992 and 1993. Side by side with this work, he had an illustrious career as a Deputy for the old Limerick East constituency, which is now called Limerick City. He represented many of the people on my side of the county. Obviously, Fedamore was his native base. He represented Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats with distinction for a long time. As the Taoiseach stated, he was Whip for the Progressive Democrats and Deputy Chief Whip while that party was in government with Fianna Fáil. Furthermore, he was spokesman on marine and defence.

He was an extremely approachable man and the epitome of the wise and simple man. He understood people's needs. Deputy Niall Collins referred to his late wife, Jean. From speaking with family members, I know that she was a central focus in the family. This crosses all political divides - the family plays a vital role. This is particularly so of spouses and partners. Matters are different now, but when Peadar was a Deputy and councillor, the work was based in the home. Constituents came to one's home. Family was extremely important.

Peadar was synonymous with Des O'Malley. They went through all phases of their careers together and were a good combination.

I pay tribute to the fantastic work that Peadar did for the people of Limerick. I also pay tribute to his late wife, Jean, and his family members, who are present. It is great to see his sons and daughters - Andrew, Patrick, Michael, Alice, Margaret and Sinéad - and, I do not doubt, some of his sisters and extended family. It is a proud moment for them. We in the national Parliament have the great privilege of being able to serve people. Peadar served the people of the country and, in particular, Limerick East with great distinction and I am delighted to be a part of this tribute.

Deputy Dan Neville: Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville I welcome the opportunity to pay tribute to the late Peadar Clohessy and to sympathise with his family. I knew Peadar well. He was highly respected in Limerick. I was elected to the council in 1985, by which time he had served 11 years. I got to know him. He was an incisive contributor and spoke when he had something to say. Everyone listened when Peadar spoke. He was highly respected by the officials, staff and members of Limerick County Council during my time there. He was chair in 1992 and 1993 during its Fine Gael-Progressive Democrats coalition. He carried out that role with total objectivity and fairness. It was the highlight of his council career, as he loved the council and local politics. He may have had more time for local politics than national politics - when discussing matters with him, he always reverted to issues of local politics.

He was elected to the Oireachtas in 1981 and I was elected in 1989. After that, I got to know him extremely well. He had a great affinity for and commitment to Limerick and his constituency's people. He also had a fantastic work ethic and output. I remember with fondness some chats that four of us who met over a drink used to have - Jim Kemmy, John Mulvihill, who was from Cork but a native of Shanagolden and who had worked at the docks there as a 14 year old, Peadar and me. We had great chats about Limerick, its hurling and politics. Peadar was a wise man and a great person to advise others on issues. As a green Member of the Oireachtas, I used to consult him on many issues during those discussions.

I remember his great sense of humour and an attractive, husky laugh when he responded to a humorous statement. Above all, he had common sense and a commitment to Limerick, his family and his country. I am honoured to be able to pay tribute to the life and work of Peadar Clohessy and to offer my sincere sympathy to his children - Alice, Margaret, Sinéad, Andrew, Patrick and Michael - and his extended family. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Deputy Patrick O'Donovan: Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan Ba mhaith liom mo chomhbhrón a dhéanamh le muintir Uí Chlochasaigh ar son bhás Pheadair Uí Chlochasaigh. Like some of the previous speakers, I did not have the pleasure of serving in the Dáil or on the local authority with Peadar, but I did have occasion to meet him at several Limerick County Council functions while I was a member. Once the decision was made to reconfigure the old Limerick East and Limerick West constituencies into Limerick City and Limerick, the rural part of Limerick East came into what is now the Limerick county constituency.

I am sure my colleagues will agree that, whether it was in Fedamore, Bruff, Meanus, Cappamore or wherever, people had a great affinity for Peadar Clohessy's work, particularly in rural parts of the county. When canvassing on doorsteps in the rural part of east Limerick and mention was made of previous Deputies, it was always in a positive light that Peadar Clohessy was mentioned.

I once met him with a predecessor of mine in the Dáil, former Deputy Michael Finucane.


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