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Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy (Continued)

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 979 No. 6

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin] He said, "We pay tribute to them but it is important that the issue of pay and conditions is resolved."

Donal was an outstanding family man. He had more than two dozen grandchildren, and was clearly never happier than when playing and joining in games and exploits with them. I believe he was reprimanded for sliding down the bannister on occasion, as well as other exploits. He was a true public servant but he was a gentleman and a very warm person. While he was a dedicated Fine Gael man, he was popular across the House and was always very approachable and pragmatic. If he could do something for somebody he would do it. He helped anyone who approached him. He was particularly proud that his son, Michael, won the Dáil seat following his retirement, and was more proud again when Michael was appointed as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Donal loved that area and worked so hard to improve it.

On behalf of our party, I wish to extend our sympathies to his wife, Madeleine, his daughters, Marcella, Michelle, Madeleine, Suzanne and Louise and, of course, to our colleague, Michael. We also remember his infant daughter, Nuala, and his eldest daughter, Claire, who predeceased him. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald Ar mo shon féin agus ar son Shinn Féin ba mhaith liom comhbhrón a dhéanamh le clann agus cairde an iar-Theachta Donal Creed a fuair bás i Mí na Samhna 2017. On my behalf and on behalf of Sinn Féin, I would like to extend sincere sympathies to the family and friends of former Teachta Donal Creed, who passed away in November 2017. I believe Deputy Micheál Martin made reference to 2,000 grandchildren, which caused a bit of alarm of these benches. Perhaps he meant two dozen. I salute not only Donal's political prowess but his wonderful tribe of a family from the rebel county.

Bhí gairm fada ag Donal in oifig phoiblí agus táim cinnte go bhfuil a mhuintir an-bhródúil as sin. Donal had a very distinguished career as a public representative, serving in this House from 1965 to 1989, representing the fine people of mid-Cork and Cork North-West. He was among the first Irish Members of the European Parliament, from 1973 to 1977, and served as a Minister of State in various Departments for a total of five years under the then Taoiseach, Garret FitzGerald.

I did not know Donal and I never met him, but the mother of one of our members of staff did. He wished for me, on his behalf and on behalf of his mother and family, to let it be known that they will forever be indebted to Donal for assistance that was given to them more than 30 years ago. That, more than anything, is the mark of not just a great public representative but a great person. He was accessible and humble, and was a true servant of the people.

I join with everybody in extending our sympathy and condolences to Madeleine, her family and friends, and of course to our colleague, Michael. I am absolutely certain that his father is immensely proud of his service as a member of Cabinet. I also extend sympathies to all of Donal's colleagues in Fine Gael. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin On my behalf and on behalf of the parliamentary Labour Party, I join with the Ceann Comhairle and other speakers in expressing our heartfelt condolences to the family of the late Donal Creed and acknowledge the remarkable contribution he made over such a long and distinguished parliamentary career. He was elected in 1965 and served until 1989. In fact, the latter part of his service overlapped with my entering this House; I arrived here in 1987, and I remember Donal well. I remember the election of his son even more clearly, as well as the contribution Michael has made subsequently.

Before being elected in 1965 Donal unsuccessfully contested a by-election caused some months earlier by the death of the Labour Deputy, Dan Desmond. In that by-election Eileen Desmond was elected who, remarkably, became only the second woman in modern times to become a Cabinet Minister. That did not happen all that long ago; remarkable changes have happened in the period since then.

Donal served as one of the nominated Members of the European Parliament in the early days, from 1973 to 1977, at a time when this House selected those who would go. It was the embryonic stage of a democratic assembly on a cross-European basis. It was exciting, because it was the antidote to a century of division and war, and is something we should reflect upon in the context of what is happening in Europe now.

Others have mentioned Donal's achievements in this House. A remarkable job was created for him; he was Minister of State for with responsibility for school buildings and sport between 1982 and 1986. That would be a great job to have. One can imagine going around the country opening schools and dealing with sport. I cannot imagine a greater and more serendipitous combination to have. As Deputy Micheál Martin would say, a Cork native would have revelled in that role.

To be selected as chair of one's parliamentary party is also a unique achievement. The skill set involved with that, dealing with various factions with various views, entails patience, wisdom, discernment and political judgment. It involves holding things together, defusing potential rows and making sure that people do not jump overboard. Delicate balancing is required and Donal's selection by his colleagues to that role bears great testament to that set of skills he obviously had.

I pay tribute to his son, who picked up the baton and continues to serve with distinction in this House, and to say to Madeleine and the extended Creed family that they can all be very proud of the contribution Donal made to this country and to the constituencies he represented with in Cork. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae On behalf of the Rural Independent Group, I am very glad to remember the great Donal Creed, who passed away on 23 November 2017. It is fair to mention two Ps when talking about Donal, namely, potatoes and politics. I do not know which he would have put in the higher category but everybody who knew of him knew of his love for farming and for vegetables and the great pride he had in potatoes. He was competitive with other family members and other neighbours on both sides of the border when it came to producing what he classified as the best potatoes that any farmer could grow. It is important to remember that. It is always nice to see people who are grounded and down to earth in politics. Donal certainly was, because he had great interest in what came out of the earth.

On a light-hearted note, every person who wins the lotto can always say, when banking the money, that if it was not for Donal Creed he or she might not have won the money at all. On a day when someone has received €175 million in the EuroMillions lottery, it should be remembered that there was a man here in Ireland who set up our own lottery. Charitable organisations have gained much from that. He was politically very astute and ahead of his time. It is nice to remember that.

On a local note, I would like to remember a very sad event for the people of Ireland, particularly those in Cork and Kerry.

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