Death of Dáil Deputy: Expression of Sympathy.

The Committee of Public Accounts has learned with great sadness and regret of the death of our colleague, Deputy Theresa Ahearn. I propose that today's business be adjourned as a mark of respect to the late Theresa Ahearn and her family to whom we send our deepest condolences on her death. Theresa gave extremely distinguished service in this House. She was a thoughtful and considerate colleague and will be greatly missed. We will particularly miss her personal touch. I ask the committee to agree to adjourn and to the business listed for today being taken on this day week.

On my own behalf, and on behalf of my colleagues, I express the most sincere regret to the family and husband of the late Deputy Theresa Ahearn. I had a great personal friendship with Theresa. She was a woman of courage and I have fond memories of the manner in which she handled her illness and the dignity with which she went about her business throughout that difficult period. I hope her husband, family, many friends, the Fine Gael Party and its leadership will be able to come to terms with a very significant and great loss.

I join colleagues in expressing sincere sympathy to Theresa's husband and children and her family and friends. We all knew her extremely well. She was a very active Member of the House and a very good and attentive constituency worker. During my time as Minister of State I had ample evidence of her activity in dealing with the pressing queries of constituents in need. Her concern and anxiety for people who were under stress and in difficulty and her willingness to help them was the hallmark of her career and was exemplary. I hope her work and dedication to the task will be of some small consolation to Theresa's family on her untimely passing.

I hope the transcript of this session is passed on to Deputy Theresa Ahearn's family as she was deeply appreciated as a colleague. I first knew Theresa in my capacity as a journalist and found her to be very good. It is always easy to say women are great in politics but she was also well able to give it the timber, as they say in Tipperary. It is hard to believe she was paying tribute to her constituency colleague, Michael Ferris, in this very Chamber only a short time ago. She made a marvellous contribution on that occasion when she gave one of the best speeches I ever heard in this House. Theresa will be greatly missed.

I would like to be associated with the expressions of sympathy to the late Theresa Ahearn. I express sincere condolences to her family on this tragic occasion.

I too wish to be associated with the vote of sympathy to Theresa and her family. This is a tragic loss as she was a great contributor to the House. Given that there are so few female Members, Theresa did the women of her country, and particularly of her constituency, proud.

The unanimous expressions of sympathy are well merited. This is the first occasion in my recollection and reading that we have had two vacancies in the one constituency, not only in the one term but in the one year. We also express our sympathy to the people of Tipperary South on their double loss this year.

This is also the first time in my memory that a female Member has died. It is a double first. The committee expresses its very sincere sympathy to Liam Ahearn and his sons on the death of Theresa who was a treasured Member of this House and who will be sadly missed. We also express our sympathy to the people of Tipperary South.

Members rose.

The committee adjourned at 10.20 a.m.