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Death of Former Members: Expressions of Sympathy (Continued)

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 975 No. 6

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  1 o’clock

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald] Seán Calleary served in the House from 1973 to 1992, representing the fine people of Mayo as a Teachta Dála, like his father Phelim before him, and his son, our colleague, Deputy Dara Calleary. It is a formidable political family tree and I know Deputy Calleary takes enormous pride in the record and standing of his father. I have no doubt that Seán was equally proud of Dara. During his time in the House, Seán Calleary served in three junior ministerial positions in the Departments of Labour and Public Service, Industry and Commerce and Foreign Affairs. I join colleagues in extending sympathy and condolences to Seán's wife Doris, his children, John, Conall, Dara and Síofra, his grandchildren, relatives, friends and colleagues in Fianna Fáil. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I had the privilege of serving with both Seán Ardagh and Seán Calleary. The Ceann Comhairle rightly spoke of the two as being honourable men. There are many parliaments in which that title is given to members as a matter of course. In the case of Seán Ardagh and Seán Calleary, it was completely merited and earned. They understood fully and embraced and accepted the privilege it is to serve one's community in our national Parliament. They worked to advance not only their own constituents' interests but to contribute to the national good. Both men could be described as rocks of sense. The views they expressed were always listened to carefully by other Members. At committees and during debates in the House, one listens to the views expressed by certain individuals in order to test one's own views. Very often, the views expressed by Seán Calleary and Seán Ardagh were so thoughtful, anchored in logic and obviously carefully considered that they altered the views of others, including even those who came here with fixed positions.

Seán Calleary and Seán Ardagh represented the highest standards expected of Members of the House. Seán Calleary had a distinguished ministerial career and graced several portfolios with discernment and ability. I have always had an interest in overseas development aid and I helped to establish the Parliamentarians for Africa group. Seán Calleary was a pathfinder in that area. When Ireland was poor, or certainly much poorer than it is now, he built awareness of our responsibilities to developing countries. That will be a very important and long-lasting legacy memorial of his. His sporting achievements have been referred to by a number of speakers. Deputy Micheál Martin referred to Sean's talent in this regard. One can well imagine his delight had he been present at the Aviva Stadium two weekends ago to see Ireland beat the All Blacks, which achievement few of his generation of rugby players could have envisaged.

The House is the poorer for the loss of people of the calibre and ability of Seán Ardagh and Seán Calleary. On my own behalf and on behalf of the Labour Party, I express sincere sympathy but also congratulations to the families of Seán Ardagh and Seán Calleary and the broad band of friends and supporters each of them had and, indeed, to their political family in Fianna Fáil.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath I join the Ceann Comhairle and group leaders in welcoming both families. I knew Seán Ardagh and I express my sympathy to his wife, Máire, his daughter, Senator Catherine Ardagh, and other family members. They know themselves the contribution he made. When I was a member of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party, I heard his wise counsel at many meetings and I noted his sensible approach to most issues. He did a great deal of work on different committees. On behalf of the Rural Independent Group, I wish to be associated with the expressions of sympathy to Seán Ardagh. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

I express my condolences also to the family of Seán Calleary, particularly his wife, Doris, and his son, Deputy Dara Calleary, who is the third generation of his family in the House. If I am listening right, I think the next generation is represented among the daoine óga in the Gallery. I compliment Seán Calleary on the work he did in difficult times in Ireland and as a champion for overseas aid. He had the honour to be in the White House on that famous occasion to present the shamrock and he served in and represented many Departments over a number of years. I happened to be in Mayo last Friday night in a public house which belongs to a former Member or his family and I heard in what high esteem Deputy Calleary and his late father and grandfather are held. They have no worries for the future either. On behalf of the Rural Independent Group, I wish to be associated with the expressions of sympathy to Seán Calleary. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan On behalf of my group, Independents 4 Change, I also wish to be associated with the expressions of sympathy for Seán Calleary and Seán Ardagh. I thank their families for the tremendous contributions they made to the House and our country over many years. I served with former Deputy Ardagh in three Dáileanna and noted his distinguished contribution as a member of the Committee of Public Accounts - I was also a member - and the Committee on Justice, Equality and Defence. He brought his forensic skills as an accountant to bear on his work, particularly as part of the six-person DIRT inquiry. Seán Calleary was in the House for two decades before my time, but I know he was a stalwart of the Haughey Governments and of Fianna Fáil in that period. On my behalf and on behalf of our group, I pay tribute to both former Members and thank their families for their contributions.

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath On behalf of the Independent Alliance, I express my deepest sympathy to both families on the loss of the two Seáns. I express to Seán Calleary's family, particularly his son, Deputy Dara Calleary, my sincerest sympathy on the loss of a father and husband. As one who grew up in Tuam, County Galway, known for the Tuam Stars, I know how highly regarded Seán Calleary was in Galway circles, especially by those in UCG, those at Galwegians and people involved in Gaelic football and soccer. His was a name I grew up hearing. I did not know Seán personally, but I heard of his great work and I know he was deeply proud that his son, Deputy Dara Calleary, was elected as a Member of Dáil Éireann.

I note to the family of Seán Ardagh that he was a very special friend of mine, as Senator Catherine Ardagh and Máire Ardagh will know, and he will always have a very special place in my heart. He was an amazing politician of great skill and integrity and, above all, he was a very compassionate man. Máire, Catherine, Charlie, Rory and family have experienced a very sad loss. Seán was very close to me during many difficult times in my life and he was very friendly with my late wife, Anne. He was always very kind during the years of great difficulty, sadness and illness in our family. I will never forget that. The members of the Ardagh family know I mean it from the bottom of my heart. Máire Ardagh served as a councillor when I was a city councillor and we got on well together and had many great nights and a lot of craic. We enjoyed the moments. Seán Ardagh always encouraged us all to enjoy the moments, notwithstanding differences in our politics. He was very proud of Senator Catherine Ardagh and rang me about her campaign when he was very ill.

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