Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy.

It is proposed that expressions of sympathy on the death of Mr. James Hession should be taken now and the Order of Business taken after that. It is proposed that the expressions of sympathy should be confined to the Taoiseach and the party leaders, or a nominated person for the party, and should not exceed five minutes in each case.

Are the arrangements for the taking of expressions of sympathy agreed? Agreed.

I appreciate the Taoiseach allowing me to be the first to pay tribute to the memory of a former Fine Gael TD, Jim Hession, who died on 12 January.

Jim Hession was a solicitor in practice for more than 63 years. He only retired from practice on 31 December, shortly before his death. He was widely regarded as one of the great characters of legal practice in the west. The late senior counsel, Pat Lindsey, who was a man of some talent, described Jim Hession as one of the most intelligent people he ever met. Jim Hession enjoyed a very high standing in his profession. He served in this House from 1951 until 1957. He was effective in his capacity as a Dáil Deputy and was the last Member from Tuam, a matter of regret to the people of the town.

On behalf of my party, I extend sympathy to his two sons, Barry and Jonathan; his daughter, Carol Gardner; his grandchildren, James, Mandy, Caroline and Robert, and his secretary, Chrissie Costello, who looked after him in his declining years.

I join the Leader of the Opposition in extending sympathy on the death, during the Christmas recess, of James Hession, a former Member. I did not know him but I understand he had a distinguished career as a politician and academic. He was first elected in 1951 and retained his seat in Galway North in the following election. He served his constituents well. When he left the House he concentrated on his legal career and was famous for his wit and banter with his colleagues and presiding judges. He served a total of 63 years as a solicitor. Many of his clients benefited greatly from his advice and expertise. Tuam has lost a great servant. On behalf of the Fianna Fáil Party, I offer my deepest condolences to his daughter, Mrs. Carol Gardner, and his sons, Barry and Jonathan. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

On behalf of the Labour Party, I extend to the Fine Gael Party and the Hession family our sympathy and condolences on the death of this remarkable man. No Member, bar the Ceann Comhairle who was first elected in 1961, served with him. I am assured, however, by my colleague, Deputy Higgins, that he had a grand reputation in County Galway as a person of considerable attribute. I extend our condolences to his family and to the Fine Gael Party.

I join the Taoiseach and the leaders of Fine Gael and the Labour Party in extending sympathy, on behalf of the Progressive Democrats, to the family of the late James Hession with whom, as Deputy Quinn said, none of us worked. I extend my sympathy to his family and to the Fine Gael Party on their loss.

Ba mhaith liom chomh maith comhbhfón a dhéanamh ar bhás James Hession. Cé nach raibh aithne agam air is léir go raibh sé an-díograiseach agus an-mhaith mar Theachta Dála le linn na gcaogadaí. Is cosúil go bhfuil an-chuid rudaí athraithe ó shin i leith ach is maith an rud é cuimhneamh ar dhuine dá leithéid. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.

Members rose.