Death of Ceann Comhairle: Expression of Sympathy .

: Members of the Oireachtas learned with profound regret of the death on 13 July of the Ceann Comhairle, Deputy Joe Brennan. Deputy Joe Brennan brought to the high office of Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann a long practical experience of parliamentary and political work, together with a kind and genial personality, a ready wit and an unfailing sense of humour. His wide circle of friends in both Houses of the Oireachtas is a tribute to his great humanity, his understanding and his generous spirit.

The task of Ceann Comhairle is never an easy one. It calls for patience and skill and for a thorough knowledge and understanding of parliamentary practice and procedures. All of these qualities Deputy Joe Brennan had in the highest degree and his wish to uphold the dignity and traditions of the House and to be fair and courteous to every Member was appreciated by all. A Member of this House for 29 years, he served with distinction in a number of different offices—Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach and to the Minister for Defence, Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, Minister for Social Welfare and Minister for Labour.

Deputy Joe Brennan was a family man, a man of great kindness and deep compassion, a man whose first concern was to help his fellow man and to give guidance and assistance to those most in need. While this House has suffered a grevious loss through the death of such a highly respected and greatly esteemed Ceann Comhairle, the loss suffered by his own people in County Donegal is greater still. No public representative has ever served his constituents with a greater sense of dedication or with a more selfless spirit of public service. It is as such, I am sure, that Deputy Joe Brennan will always be remembered by the people of Donegal.

Ní fhéadfaí omós a thabhairt do Seosamh Ó Braonáin gan an tsuim mhór a bhí aige i nithe Gaelacha a lua, go háirithe sa teanga féin. Ba Ghael go smior é. Beidh sé inár gcuimhne.

I would ask Deputies to join with me in a tribute to a great Irishman and an eminent and distinguished Member of this House. I would ask you, a Cheann Comhairle, to convey to the late Ceann Comhairle's widow and family whose loss is greatest of all the deepest sympathy of the Members of Dáil Éireann.

Go dtuga Dia na glóire gach sólás dóibh in a mbrón agus in a mbris agus suaimhneas síorraí d'anam an uasail dílis atá imithe uainn.

: On behalf of the Fine Gael Party I would like to join in the tribute which has been eloquently paid by the Taoiseach to the late Deputy Joseph Brennan and to express to his family and friends our very sincere sympathy in their loss. In office as a Minister and in Opposition as his party's spokesman, Deputy Brennan was always most conscientious and invariably behaved towards his political opponents with a courtesy which did him great credit. During his years in the difficult office of Ceann Comhairle while we on this side of the House sometimes incurred his displeasure—and sometimes, perhaps, deservedly so—he conducted the Chair with dignity and good humour and never allowed words spoken by others in moments of excitement to prejudice him against them. We all valued and enjoyed the dry wit for which he will be long remembered and we respected the high conception of this House and its dignity which he held. In his death County Donegal has lost a most worthy and devoted representative, his party a formidable and tireless warrior and Members of this House a popular and esteemed colleague who will be greatly missed.

I should like to add my personal appreciation of the many courtesies and kindnesses which I received from him, especially during the period when he was Ceann Comhairle and I was leader of the Opposition. Guímid sólás na bhflaitheas agus síocháin shíorraí dá anam agus comhfhortachtcroí dá mhuintir.

: On behalf of the Labour Party I would like to be associated with the tribute that is being paid to the late Ceann Comhairle, Deputy Joe Brennan, by the Taoiseach. As the Taoiseach said, the role of Ceann Comhairle is at times a very difficult role. We in this party on occasions have come in conflict with the Chair but Deputy Brennan at all times showed an understanding of the motivation behind any objection we may have raised and realised that there was nothing personal at all in that objection. He served this House and this country with distinction in many offices and all sides of the House will remember Deputy Joe Brennan as a man of very deep compassion, personal kindness and a man of unfailing good humour. I recall, having come in conflict with him in his office as Ceann Comhairle in the House, immediately outside the Chamber being able to exchange jokes and pleasantries with him. He never on any occasion personalised any matter which he knew and recognised to be one that was being pursued by an individual Deputy or a party in the strong conviction that they were correct, while he may not have agreed with that and that their motivations were of the highest. I join, on behalf of the Labour Party and my own behalf, in extending our sincere sympathy to Deputy Brennan's family. He will be remembered with affection by Members on all sides of the House.

Members rose in their places.