Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 29 Jun 1993

Vol. 433 No. 1

Death of Former Member: Expression of Sympathy.

Members of the House will wish to join with me in paying tribute to the late Patrick J. Lindsay, former Master of the High Court, Government Minister and Dáil Deputy. May he rest in peace.

His long career in public life began in 1954 when he was first elected to the Dáil for Mayo North. The people of that county and his many friends in all parties and in all parts of Ireland will be saddened today by his loss. He was Minister for the Gaeltacht from 1956 to 1957 and previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education and the Gaeltacht.

Whether as a backbencher or as a holder of high office — Government or legal — he was a skilled parliamentarian and advocate who brought great credit to his chosen professions. He was a man of great courtesy and charm and a raconteur second to none who enjoyed the affection and respect of all sides of the House and all who came in contact with him. He was a distinguished classicist.

All who read his memoirs will readily attest to these qualities. On my own behalf and on behalf of the Government I would ask you, a Cheann Comhairle, to offer our deepest condolences to his family as well as his colleagues in the Fine Gael Party. He will be much missed by all of us. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a ainm dilís.

On behalf of the party to which Pat Lindsay devoted his life, I wish to join the Taoiseach in expressing a deep sense of loss at the passing of this great Irishman.

Pat Lindsay was a proud native of the Barony of Erris, educated in Doolough national school and subsequently at one of the great academies of the west of Ireland, St. Muredach's College, Ballina. He was, as the Taoiseach said, a distinguished classicist. I think he was one of the few Members of this House — since the House was founded — who actually had the privilege of editing one of the books of Virgil's Aeneid. He was a distinguished Minister. There are families throughout the western half of this country who are benefiting to this day from decisions taken by Pat Lindsay to extend the Gaeltacht in an effort to restore the strength of the Irish language and, indeed, to promote regional development. In many ways Pat Lindsay was a champion of regional development before the term itself had been invented.

He was, as the Taoiseach has remarked, first elected to the Dáil in 1954. It is worth recalling for Members who have had a long struggle to be elected to this House, and perhaps for people listening who hope to be in this House but who have failed in the past, that Pat Lindsay was unsuccessful in seeking election to this House on five occasions, starting with the general election in 1937, before finally being elected in 1954. That persistence shows his commitment to public life, his commitment to his party and above all the enormous strength of his personal character.

As the Taoiseach has said, he was a man who led two lives successfully. He was an outstanding advocate, an outstanding member of the Irish Bar and rose to one of the highest positions of the Bar in becoming Master of the High Court, a responsibility which he discharged with a unique combination of legal knowledge and earthly commonsense. In many senses the latter was more important than the former. To his family and all those who mourn him, and they are myriad, I express my sympathy and that of the Fine Gael Party.

Pat Lindsay was a character larger than life and as one of the great humourists he would forgive us for recalling him in a slightly humorous vein. I recall the last words of his memoirs in which he said he had a great life, that he had enjoyed his family enormously but that the only regret of his family was that they had not been born before him so that they might have brought him up properly.

I would like to be associated with the expressions of sympathy on the death of Mr. Pat Lindsay, whom I have known for many years. I last met him only a month or so ago when he seemed to be in very good form. It was a great shock to learn only a few minutes ago of his unfortunate death today.

Mr. Lindsay had a distinguished career in this House. He was not here continuously but at different times over a long period. I formed a friendship with him then that remained until his death. Deputy Bruton referred to many of the amusing aspects of Mr. Lindsay's life. An occasion I recall in particular is that of a celebrated difference of opinion he had with a late uncle of mine on the value or otherwise of free school transport. He believed the way it was in the old days in County Mayo was better, but he may have amended his view in that regard later. He expressed his views, whatever they were, with great humour and conviction. He will be missed, particularly in the west which he served so well and to where he retired some years ago. I would like to be associated with the expression of sympathy to his children on what is a sad loss for them.

I, too, wish to be associated with the expressions of sympathy on the sad and untimely death of Paddy Lindsay, a man who won the respect of many both far and wide in his career as a member of the Irish Bar and as Master of the High Court, as well as during his time as a Senator and as a Deputy and as a distinguished Minister in Government. On behalf of the parliamentary Labour Party, I extend our sympathy to his family. We all mourn his loss, a sad loss for Irish public life. I did not know Patrick Lindsay well but the man who succeeded me told me on many occasions of his humour, intelligence, wit and his camaraderie with his colleagues down through the decades in Leinster House. Again, on behalf of the Labour Party, I extend sympathy to his family.

Like many Deputies in this House I did not know Patrick J. Lindsay, but from what I have heard about him he appeared to be larger than life and we need people in this House who have a sense of humour, particularly in relation to their own foibles. Such people are badly needed at times when we tend to take ourselves too seriously. From what I know of Mr. Lindsay, I would have nothing in common with him politically. Nevertheless, he clearly made an impression on those who knew him. On behalf of my party, I extend condolences to his family and friends on his death.

Members rose in their places.