Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy.

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.

I wish to be associated with the Taoiseach's tribute to his former constituency colleague, former Deputy Tom Leonard, who passed away on Friday last. I remember Tom Leonard as a very kind and gentle Deputy, well liked on all sides of the House. In many ways, he was the quintessential Dubliner who served his native city for a number of years as an alderman on Dublin City Council. I also recall the very close involvement of Tom and his family in the fruit and vegetable trade, and the great affection and esteem in which he was held by those involved in the Dublin markets.

On behalf of Fine Gael, I extend my sympathy to the Taoiseach and his colleagues in Fianna Fáil, who will miss him greatly. I also extend, on behalf of my party, our sincere condolences to Tom's widow, Carmel, his son, Dominic, and daughters Dorothy, Mary-Louise and Alison. In the uncertain and cynical world of politics, it can be said that Tom Leonard was a truly decent man. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

I was sorry to learn of the passing of former Deputy Tom Leonard. I join the Taoiseach in paying tribute to his record of public service. He was a quiet, retiring and self-effacing Member of this House who worked diligently for his people and constituents. On behalf of the Labour Party, I offer our condolences to his widow, family and extended family.

In the absence of the Tánaiste, I add my condolences to the family of former Deputy Tom Leonard. I offer my sympathy to his relatives.

On behalf of the Green Party, I would like to be associated with the expressions of sympathy on the death of Tom Leonard. Is cinnte gur chailliúint an-mhór a bhás dá bhean céile, Carmel agus dá chlann. Is cailliúint é don Taoiseach agus do Fhianna Fáil chomh maith. Is cinnte go mbeidh a mhuintir an-bhródúil as na blianta fada seirbhíse a chaith sé ar Bhárdas Bhaile Átha Cliath agus sa Teach seo. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.

On behalf of the Sinn Féin Members, I join colleagues in expressing our sympathy to the Taoiseach and the Fianna Fáil Party on the death of former Deputy Tom Leonard. I extend our sincere condolences to his wife and family on their great loss. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

I wish to be associated with the expressions of sympathy to the widow and family of Tom Leonard, and to the Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil. All in the Dublin Central constituency knew Tom. He was well known in the markets area, liked by everybody and an absolute gentleman. He will be missed.

On behalf of the Independent group, I express our sympathy to the Leonard family on the death of Tom. As someone who worked in the north inner city for 20 years, I am very conscious of the work in which Tom was involved. I extend my sympathy to the Taoiseach and the Fianna Fáil Party. My deepest sympathy also goes to Tom's wife, Carmel, and his family.

Members rose.