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

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 859 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny] I remind the Deputy, because of his concern, that when he was invited to Farmleigh House to discuss all of these matters he decided not to attend.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace The Minister knows I could not go that day.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Where were you?

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace I was also promised we would be given an input into how the police authority would be structured.

Deputy Noel Coonan: Information on Noel Coonan Zoom on Noel Coonan Get your priorities right.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace The Taoiseach speaks about insults, but with regard to the independent review mechanism, it is an insult to all of the people who have filed complaints and have come to us with complaints, some of which are not filed, that someone from the existing hierarchy would be appointed.

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald No, it is not if it occurs through an independent process.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace What has been going on since Shatter left? I knew I would miss Shatter-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputy Shatter.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace -----but I did not think I would miss him this much. How much legislation have we seen since Shatter went?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputy Shatter, please.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace Sorry, Deputy Shatter. We were told we would have the terms of reference for the commission of investigation, as recommended by the Guerin report, within six weeks of the report, but that was seven months ago. We were told that by the end of the summer we would have the results of the independent review mechanism on what sort of process would take place. How many months ago was that?

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

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace It is crazy. Professor Dermot Walsh, probably the leading individual on policing in Ireland, has said all along that if we want to reform policing in Ireland we must go outside the State and clean the slate. The existing hierarchy are all from the one crew. The Government will not get reform-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I ask the Deputy to please put his question.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace -----from the existing hierarchy. Why does the Government not want change? Why has the Government not published the terms of reference for the commission of investigation as recommended by the Guerin report?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny With regard to the file of complaints, some of them came to me. Some of them have dragged on for up to 20 years in various forms. Some have been before various assessment or court procedures. In many cases people look for particular elements of justice, as they see it, arising from these complaints. They are being examined by a panel of legal experts. The legislation in respect of GSOC is before the House. The terms of reference arising from the Guerin report will be dealt with next week.

The interview panel was completely independent. I saw the Deputy's statement that he had applied for the position as the chair of the independent policing authority, which it is in order for him to do.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley Steady now, Taoiseach.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It seems to me as if the Deputy has very different view of how the system should work, as he says, from the bottom up. I expect Commissioner O'Sullivan will follow through on the Garda Inspectorate's report in terms of the agenda of reform that must be set out. The Government has responded to the requirements of gardaí in terms of new vehicles and facilities for them to do their job. The Garda force has had a lot of work in the most recent past in protecting innocent citizens from those who might have other things on their mind.

It is not true for the Deputy to say this was some sort of inside job. The appointment of the Garda Commissioner was conducted through a rigorous and completely independent process of interview and scrutiny, and the name that came through to the Government for appointment as Garda Commissioner under the Act was that of Commissioner O'Sullivan, and I wish her the very best of luck-----

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath So do I.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----in dealing with the many difficulties with which the Garda force has to contend and in being able to implement and follow through on the Garda Inspectorate's report in terms of reform-----

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath I hope you do not send anyone to her house.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----of the Garda Síochána. Having the Garda Commissioner report to the police authority is a radical shift. The role and responsibility of the Garda Commissioner is changed-----

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace She still remains answerable to the Government and not to the people.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin She could be answering to you.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----somewhat in reporting to the police authority and the Minister for Justice and Equality-----

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Recognise change.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----in terms of the security of the State.

Deputy Patrick O'Donovan: Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan When you are Minister for Justice you can-----

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath Be careful, it might happen.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny This is the most radical shift in the Garda Síochána since the foundation of the State. The Deputy might have a very different view about how it should operate.

Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett We now move on to expressions of sympathy for a late colleague of ours, Ted Nealon, former journalist, Deputy and Minister of State. I take this opportunity to welcome to the Distinguished Visitors Gallery his family and associates. They are very welcome for this very important occasion. I call on the Taoiseach.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It was with great sadness I learned earlier this year of the death of former Deputy and Minister of State, the late Ted Nealon. Today, on behalf of the Government and the Fine Gael Party, I convey my deepest sympathies to his wife, Jo, who is not with us in the House today, his son Fergal, his daughter Louise and extended family. Louise is watching this broadcast in Sydney, Australia.

  Ted Nealon is sadly missed by all those who knew him in his personal and political life. Many of the younger and newer Members might not have known Ted Nealon as a person or a politician. Some who may not have been in politics at the time will have seen some of the programmes he conducted when he was a television broadcaster and political commentator.

  It was a privilege and quite something to work with him and to be a beneficiary of what was a unique political brain of enormous capacity. It is something about which we know very clearly in Leinster House and the Dáil, as do those who were privileged to work with him in what, by any standards, was an exceptional career in politics and journalism. In the political aspect of his career he served proudly under two former taoisigh, Liam Cosgrave and the late Dr. Garret FitzGerald, and he did so with distinction as Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and later as Minister of State at the Department of An Taoiseach with responsibility for arts and culture. He was later appointed Minister of State at the Department of Posts and Telegraphs.

  In every role he gave of his best, not alone as an exemplary public servant but as an exemplary compassionate and dignified human being. In every interaction he recognised the other person's humanity and dignity, which explains why when Ted's passing was announced it was met with such personal sadness and fond affection in the former constituency of Sligo-Leitrim. He touched people's lives with his sincerity and the common sense and insight for which he was well noted and for which he is now so deeply and personally missed.

  Ted Nealon loved his county and everything about it. He loved the stories and the engagement of the characters of the day. He followed on from the late Eugene Gilhawley and the late Joe MacLachlan, two different personalities who represented the Sligo-Leitrim constituency. He loved Ben Bulben, Lissadell and Streedagh Strand where the lost armada lies. He was intrigued by the science of politics and the enthusiasm created by so many people. He was always excited about the political challenge and the stories that had to be contented with. He wrote many of them down in the book he published on tales from Leinster House.

  He made a remarkable contribution to politics in Ireland, both as a practitioner and an analyst. I recall when he first came here to join the Fine Gael Party, working for the late Dr. Garret FitzGerald. He was the first person I saw in the House to use what was then described as the golf typewriter, on which all of the letters were on a central console. Ted, being a journalist, used to churn out letters, epistles and leaflets and eventually produced a paper for the party, which was very well received in Dublin and throughout the country. Those who were members of a much smaller party always wanted to be featured in it at some point.

  I believe his fascination with politics was something that was infectious because he was very enthusiastic about it, not only because of policy statements or political interviews but because he crystallised all of this fascination into a specific resource that every aspiring politician, every student of politics and every political columnist and broadcaster has now as the foundation stone of their competence or their aspiration. It is known as Nealon's Guide, which he launched more than 40 years ago.


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