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Death of Former Taoiseach: Expressions of Sympathy (Continued)

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 959 No. 8

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin] I always looked forward to talking with him and I was always struck by his sharp mind, vivid memories and polite way of addressing points of controversy.

Of course, he was immensely proud of his father and his role in 1916, as well his promotion of the nationalist and republican cause well before then. At State commemorations over the years, in particular during last year's centenary commemorations, he was a reminder that the great generation which fought a revolution and brought Ireland's cause to the attention of the world was a broad one. In honouring them, we have a duty to put aside party labels and focus on the unity of purpose which they showed.

Soon before his passing, I had the great pleasure of sitting with the late Colm Murray from RTÉ, during which he told me of a wonderful day he spent at Punchestown with Liam Cosgrave. He said the racing was okay but the stories were magnificent.

When one listens to the many recordings of him down through the years it is hard not to be struck by how his was a distinct accent, one which is now quite rare. To today's listeners, it reinforces a sense of him representing another era, something reinforced by the fact that it is 36 years since he left Dáil Éireann having served here through nearly his entire working life.

He was a child of a rising Dublin Catholic professional class. He shared its passions and many of its views. He was proud of his nationalist heritage, deeply committed to his faith and firm in his attitudes. He saw Ireland as a proud nation which should stand with the international community in a spirit of co-operation and a commitment to democracy. 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, ba mhaith liom mo chomhbhrón a dhéanamh le mic agus le hiníon an iar-Thaoisigh, Liam Cosgrave, a fuair bás inné.

On my behalf and that of Sinn Féin, I want to extend sympathy and condolences to the family and loved ones of former Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave, following his death yesterday. For many people he was during turbulent and controversial periods of our history a controversial and divisive figure. Today is not the day to analyse this, in ionad ba mhaith liom a rá go ndéana Dia trócaire air.

I did not know Mr. Cosgrave personally. I saw him at many of the 1916 centenary events and other events over the years, as well as in Croke Park on many occasions. As others have said, he had a long career in the Dáil and the great privilege of serving as Teachta Dála for nearly 40 years representing the people of Dún Laoghaire and Dublin County. During that period he served as Chief Whip, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Minister for External Affairs and Taoiseach from 1973 until 1977. He led Fine Gael for 12 years.

Bhí gairm fhada aige in oifig phoiblí agus tá mé cinnte go bhfuil a mhuintir agus a pháirtí brodúil as sin. Tá an ceart acu.

As others have noted, he had a long career in public office. I am sure his family, party, Mr. Cosgrave himself and his late wife, Vera, were rightly proud of this record. I want to extend my sympathies to his children, Mary, Liam Jnr. and Ciarán and to all his friends and family, as well as to An Taoiseach, the leader of Fine Gael, and the Fine Gael family. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin My first knowledge of Liam Cosgrave came from my political mentor, the former Labour leader Brendan Corish. Although they came from very different political traditions, they became very firm friends. They worked together on the basis of trust and honour. Brendan often told me of the many difficult and challenging issues, including the economy and national security, which were dealt with by the two of them, face-to-face and in direct conversation without aides or advisors.

He described to me a generous man, who took the time to listen carefully and to act always in the best interests of the country rather than the party.

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