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Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 926 No. 2

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Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl In accordance with the Order of the Dáil yesterday, we will now hear expressions of sympathy on the death of our former colleague, the late Paddy Lalor. I welcome members of the Lalor family, who are in attendance with us today, namely, his daughters, Frances Fleming, Helen Lalor and Veronica Daly, and his son, Joe Lalor. They are joined in the Gallery by their spouses, Leo Fleming, Paul Gleeson, Philip Daly and Marise Lalor, and a number of Paddy's grandchildren, Shane Fleming, Kevin Lalor, Isabella Lalor, Kate Daly and Hannah Daly.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Ar mo shon féin agus ar son mo pháirtí, déanaim comhbhrón le muintir Lalor as ucht bhás Paddy. Polaiteoir den scoth ab ea é a d'oibrigh go dian dícheallach, Domhnach is dálach, ar son mhuintir na tíre seo agus ar son mhuintir a dhúiche féin. Fear mór pobail ab ea é a bhí fréamhaithe ina áit dhúchais. Iar-Theachta Dála, iar-Aire agus iar-bhall de Pharlaimint na hEorpa ab ea é. Duine lách, cneasta ab ea é agus, gan amhras, iománaí den scoth ab ea é chomh maith. Is dócha gurbh é an t-iománaí ab fhearr a bhí riamh ann i gContae Laoise. Tuigeann cách é sin.

On my behalf and that of my party, Fianna Fáil, I welcome the Lalor family to Dáil Éireann and express our deepest sympathy to them on the death of their father, Paddy, who passed away at the end of last July at the age of 90. He was born the year the Fianna Fáil party was founded, so his destiny was sealed in many ways. He spent most of his life as an active and dedicated public figure and a member of our party. He was a dynamic public representative who not only strived to serve his constituents of Laois-Offaly but also sought to put forward the best interests of the country when he served as Minister and as a Member of the European Parliament. It is important that Dáil Éireann recognises the significant contribution he has made to Irish politics.

Again, I welcome the Lalor family to Leinster House, in particular, Frances, Helen, Veronica and Joe, their spouses, and, of course, Paddy's grandchildren and wider family. Paddy first and foremost was a family man. He loved his family greatly and his community in Laois. He lived a long and fruitful life and was at all times concerned with helping and looking after others. He was a member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the local credit union and the Tidy Towns committee.

He was deeply connected to his cultural roots and, as I stated earlier, he was an outstanding hurler. He was very involved in both Gaelic football and hurling and was probably one of Laois's greatest hurlers. He played in the All-Ireland hurling final for Laois in 1949, when it was unfortunately beaten by Tipperary. He was a dual player with his native Abbeyleix and widely regarded as one of the O'Moore county's more skilful players. He had a national hurling league top 20 goal scoring record which has still not been beaten. He scored hundreds of points in the league even though he was not a designated free taker. So good was he that he gained recognition when he was selected on the Laois hurling team of the millennium in 1999. He was a competitive, fun loving and engaged man who brought the competitiveness in his sporting career to his long and dedicated political career.

He was a Deputy from 1961 to 1981, Minister for Posts and Telegraphs from 1969 to 1970 and Minister for Industry and Commerce from 1970 to 1973. He was of the generation of visionaries who led this country into the European Union and opened up new horizons and vistas for the Irish people. He served as Chief Whip to the then Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, in the 1977 to 1979 Government, when, in a turbulent time, both internally and within the Dáil, he brought his generosity of spirit. He was known as a uniter of people and as one who could reach out to all the various sides and bring people together. He worked extremely diligently in the role and was a loyal and dedicated believer in Jack Lynch and the work he did as Taoiseach. Paddy later went on to represent Leinster in the European Parliament from 1979 to 1994. He was a committed European who, I think, would be appalled at how events have taken shape with Brexit and so on.

We acknowledge his strong work ethic and his sense of his very basic civic and patriotic duty to his local community and his country. His late wife, Myra, who was a great support to him, passed away in 2014. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílis. Together, with their family, they made a distinctive contribution to public life in their native county and their country. His family can be proud of the enormous legacy he has left in the many families and homes throughout his constituency and in terms of public policy in this country, something from which many generations to follow will benefit.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I also welcome Joe, Frances, Helen and Veronica to the House. It has all been said by Deputy Martin. I sympathise with them on behalf of my party on the loss of Paddy Lalor. I remember him very well. Not many of the current Dáil will remember him during his time as a Deputy. It will come to them all in due course and someone will stand up somewhere sometime and pay whatever tribute he or she may wish. I remember Paddy sitting in the seat the Chief Whip currently occupies at a time of great challenge within the party. He always had a quizzical look on his face, as if to say, "What is going to come next?"

I agree with Deputy Martin that he was a person who loved life. He was a popular Deputy and Minister and someone who was genuinely interested in the affairs of his constituency and people and he relayed that through to Government, which I suppose is what democracy is about.

Deputy Martin mentioned Paddy's hurling exploits. Paddy brought that sort of capacity to his general political work. A person would not want to take him on without being clear as to what to do next. Paddy was a talented athlete and represented the O'Moore county well. When he finished his playing days, he took up public service and he was genuinely interested in the well-being of his constituents. While things were not as strong economically as they might be, he still represented the people of Laois strongly. He was a Vice-President of the European Parliament. It was new for Ireland to send its members to the European Parliament after 1979 and the tales of exploits and engagements in and outside that Parliament were always a source of both amusement and intrigue when they were brought back to the Dáil. While he was many miles away in Brussels, his focus was always on Laois. Paddy's family are able to say with pride that their dad represented his people exceptionally well in the constituency, throughout the country and beyond. Whatever differences people might have in political parties, we can always say that Paddy Lalor, for one, as the male head of their family, did a first class job in speaking out for his people and in carrying out representation in this Chamber.

One of Paddy's opening remarks in Irish was to extend a fáilte Uí Cheallaigh to the visitor and he would ask me occasionally, "Did I say that properly?" I used to say to him, "Paddy, it is no bother to you." Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Ar mo shon féin agus ar son Shinn Féin, déanaim comhbhrón le mac, iníonacha agus garpháistí Paddy Lalor, a fuair bás i mí Iúil. Tá sé deas go bhfuil na garpháistí anseo inniu ag éisteacht leis na focail fhlaithiúla ón Teachta Micheál Martin agus ón Taoiseach faoina ndaideo. Deputy Martin has paid elegant tribute to Paddy Lalor as has the Taoiseach. On my own behalf and that of Sinn Féin, I extend sincere and heartfelt sympathy to the family and loved ones of the former Teachta, Paddy Lalor, following his passing in late July. I also extend condolences to Fianna Fáil.

I did not know Paddy personally but I have heard of his exploits both as a politician and as a GAA man and it is clear he excelled at both.

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