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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 20 Oct 1981

Vol. 330 No. 1

Expressions of Sympathy.

Deputies will have learned of the death during the recess of Deputy Kieran Doherty who had been on hunger strike at the Maze Prison. Deputy Doherty was returned as a Member of the Dáil for the constituency of Cavan-Monaghan in this year's general election. He was a native of Belfast and had been in prison, on remand and following sentence, since August 1976.

I ask you, a Cheann Comhairle, to convey to the parents and the family of the late Deputy the sympathy of the House in their loss, which has added to the burden of sorrow that violence has brought to so many people in Northern Ireland.

Since we last met there has been also the tragic death of former Deputy Joe Fox, who was very recently a Member of this House, as well as the assassination of President Sadat of Egypt, whose courage and statesmanship won widespread acclaim. I have already conveyed the sympathy of the Government, and I am sure the House will wish to convey its sympathy to the Speaker of the Egyptian Parliament.

On behalf of Fianna Fáil I should like to express my deep regret at the death of Mr. Kieran Doherty, TD, on hunger strike and to convey my sympathy to his parents and family. I support the proposal of the Taoiseach that you, a Cheann Comhairle, be asked to convey the sympathy of Dáil Éireann to the parents and family of the late Deputy Doherty. Like so many others, Deputy Doherty was a victim of the tragic circumstances of the North and we cannot but recognise the lonely courage of his sacrifice, whatever view any of us may take of events in Northern Ireland. It is a cause of deep and lasting regret to me that although, as Taoiseach, I did everything that lay within my power to avert these tragic deaths, I did not succeed in doing so. I believe that if action of the sort that I hope is being taken now had come earlier things might well have been different. Let us hope that at least in this one aspect of the Northern tragedy we can turn over a new chapter and that the sacrifice and suffering that have been borne on all sides of the community in Northern Ireland will be diminished greatly.

I wish to join with the Taoiseach in expressing our sadness and sorrow at the death of Joe Fox. He was a very dedicated and committed Member of this House and he was a very good friend and companion to people on all sides of the political divide. All of us will miss him very much. I join with the Taoiseach in asking you, a Cheann Comhairle, to convey to his widow and family our deepest and most profound sympathy.

I subscribe also to the wish of the Taoiseach that this House should express its deep regret at the death of President Sadat and ask you, a Cheann Comhairle, to convey our sympathy to his widow and family and to the people of Egypt.

Members rose in their places.