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Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy (Continued)

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 809 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny] This was the future of education as Pádraig Faulkner saw it. I have read his autobiography, As I Saw It, and it should be required reading for political students, would-be politicians and practitioners throughout the country because he was an administrator par excellence. More than this, he was a force for modernisation and a rock of common sense. He could see what needed to be done for the future. On the then Gaeltarra Éireann he stated people with business experience were needed to achieve the radical changes necessary.

  His passing just over a year ago brought a heartbreaking change to the life of his family. Through his passionate belief in public service he left an enormous legacy and standards to people throughout the country and particularly those in County Louth. His wife Kitty and his children, Tom, with whom I was in training college, Bartle, Mary and Pat can be so proud of their husband and father. Go ndéanfaidh Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore Ba bhaith liom thar cheann Pháirtí an Lucht Oibre comhbhrón a dhéanamh le clann Phádraig Uí Fhachtna agus freisin lena pháirtí, Fianna Fáil. On behalf of the Labour Party, I join the Taoiseach and Deputy Martin in welcoming members of the Faulkner family to the House and I pay tribute to the life and career of Pádraig Faulkner who served this House with distinction from 1957 to 1987. Deputy Martin outlined the many portfolios held by former Deputy Faulkner and it is quite a remarkable list. He was Minister for Lands, the Gaeltacht, Education, Posts and Telegraphs, Tourism and Transport and Defence. This is a tribute to Pádraig Faulkner and to Fianna Fáil's enduring electoral success over this period of time. Pádraig Faulkner served in every Fianna Fáil Government from 1965 to 1980, when he assumed the role of Ceann Comhairle which he held until 1981. By the time he stepped down from the Dáil at the 1987 general election, he had served the people of Louth for a remarkable 30 years and had earned the respect of politicians from all parties and none.

  Bhí grá agus suim speisialta ag Pádraig Faulkner don Ghaeilge. Tháinig sé ó na glúine de mhúinteoirí a d'oibrigh go dian ar son na Gaeilge agus ar son chultúr na nGael. Gael den scoth a bhí ann. Ag an am céanna, ní raibh dearcadh dúnta aige ina Gaelachas nó ina náisiúnachas.

  I did not know Pádraig Faulkner personally but I have read his book, As I Saw It.  Deputy Martin highlighted many of his achievements and contributions over a very long period of time in public life. Perhaps the contribution for which he will be best remembered was his support for Jack Lynch at the time of the arms trial, an extremely turbulent period for Fianna Fáil and the country. As a Deputy representing a Border constituency during the early years of the Troubles, it took much courage and bravery to oppose violence and support democracy. He should be remembered in particular for this contribution and support at a very critical time. His commitment to these values, his service to the Government of the country, his public service and the work for those whom he represented in his constituency are rightly recognised in the House today. I again express my sympathy to his family and Fianna Fáil. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Ba mhaith liom mo chómhbhrón a dhéanamh le clann Pádraig Faulkner agus le Fianna Fáil. Ní raibh aithne agam ar Phádraig Faulkner. Mar a dúirt ceannaire Fhianna Fail, an Taoiseach agus an Tánaiste, bhí sé mar Theachta Dála don dáilcheantar - Lú - ar feadh tréimhse fada. Chuala mé a lán scéalta faoi. Fear uasal agus Teachta Dála iontach ab ea é, de réir mhuintir Chontae Lú, muintir na háite agus, go háirithe, pobal Dhún Dealgan.

On behalf of Sinn Féin I extend my deepest condolences to the family of former Ceann Comhairle and Fianna Fáil Minister, Pádraig Faulkner, who died a year ago. I also extend my sympathy to Fianna Fáil, which has lost an industrious member who in a long career in politics contributed significantly and hugely to the party.

Mr. Faulkner was born in Dundalk and represented the constituency of Louth which I now have the honour of representing. He did so with great diligence for 30 years from 1957 to 1987. I never met him and did not know him, but I knew of him and it is clear from all of those who did know him or knew of his role as a Deputy, six time Minister, Ceann Comhairle and member of the Council of State that he was very highly and deservedly respected.

Mr. Faulkner was also a husband, father and grandfather and it is particularly poignant and fitting that a third generation of his family is here to listen to his achievements. To his wife Kitty, sons Tom, Bartle and Pat, daughter Mary, son-in-law Frank, grandchildren, extended family circle and his many friends I extend my deepest condolences. His death may have been a year ago but I am sure they feel his loss every single day, and his wife in particular must feel his absence. I am sure they will get some condolence and consolation and great comfort from knowing he made many positive contributions during his life to the well-being of the people of Louth and the State and, of course, to his family. Go ndéanfaidh Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Ba mhaith liom, ar son na dTeachtaí Neamhspleácha sa Teach seo, fíor-fháilte a chur roimh chlann Pádraig Faulkner atá sa Dáil tráthnóna inniu. On behalf of the Independent Deputies, I express our sympathy to the family of the late Pádraig Faulkner. Dunleer lost one of its most famous sons with the death of the former Minister and Ceann Comhairle, Pádraig Faulkner, at the age of 94. He was one of the foremost political figures in the country for a generation and was first elected to the Dáil in 1957, the year before I was born, having been encouraged by Eamon De Valera to do so. He held a number of ministerial positions until his retirement in 1987.

He served as Minister in a number of portfolios, including the Gaeltacht, Education, Posts and Telegraphs, Tourism and Transport and Defence. Deputy Faulkner was first elected to the Dáil as a Deputy for Louth and served as Ceann Comhairle from October 1980 to June 1981. He was born on 12 March 1918 and was the son of a farmer. He attended Dundalk CBS before going to St. Patrick's College of Education in Drumcondra and qualifying as a múinteoir scoile.

His love of politics began courtesy of his parents when he was growing up in Dunleer. He unsuccessfully stood for the Dáil as a 36 year old Fianna Fáil candidate in 1954. After this he helped shape generations to come. He smoothed the path to free education, urging the need for more teachers and school transport. He introduced the laws which saw An Post and Telecom Éireann founded and helped bring the telephone to many rural homes as he backed European policy in this regard. I remember when the first telephone arrived in my house and, as I tell my children today, we were almost afraid of it because it rang through the post office and had to be switched through. We were afraid of it and it was minded. Now my children have all types of devices.

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