It was with deep regret that Members learned over the weekend of the death of Mr. Tom Leonard, a former member of the House and former constituency colleague of mine. May he rest in peace. Tom Leonard was a decent, honest, hard-working and quiet person of Irish politics. Born almost 80 years ago, he was educated at St. Mary's Christian Brothers' school. He was a member and long-time servant of the Irish Auctioneers and Valuers Institute. He served in this House from 1977 to 1981 and won the by-election following the death of the former Tánaiste, Mr. George Colley, in 1983. He was a member of Dublin City Council for close on 30 years, in service to the people.
The Leonard family have been prominent traders in the fruit and vegetable business in the markets area of Dublin for many decades, an association which continues to this day. Tom Leonard shared that close association with the area throughout his career and lived in the area for much of his life. He continued to work there after moving from the area and continued to spend much of his social, personal and family time in that area during his retirement.
He was a quiet man but provided a good and efficient service. He was a champion of his local community and kept to the markets area, his constituency base, for most of his political life. The historic revitalisation of the area in recent years was a source of great pride to him as he spent much of his political life fighting for it. It did not come about during his political life but, in his retirement, he saw the rejuvenation of much of the area which came under the Dublin Corporation HARP project. In leaner times, when the people of the markets area had few resources, Tom Leonard and his family were very helpful to the poor of the area through their business, and stories are told of this in the area to this day.
Tom Leonard remained fully involved in Fianna Fáil up to his death. He was honorary president of my constituency association and was active in the local community of Castleknock where he lived during his retirement. He was a deeply religious man and was involved in many organisations connected with the church which helped the poor. He was very proud of that work but carried it out quietly and never discussed it.
On my behalf and that of the Government, Fianna Fáil and all its members in my constituency of Dublin Central, I offer my deepest condolences to his wife Carmel, his children, Dominic, Dorothy, Mary-Louise and Alison, his four grandchildren and two surviving sisters. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.