Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 2 Jul 2013

Vol. 809 No. 2

Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

Múinteoir, polaiteoir agus Aire den scoth ab ea Pádraig Faulkner. Fear mór clainne a bhí ann chomh maith. Déanaim comhbhrón ar dtús lena bhean Kitty, lena chlann Tom, Bartle, Pat agus Mary agus lena chlann clainne go léir. D'oibrigh sé go dian dícheallach ar son mhuintir a dháilcheantair féin agus ar son mhuintir na tíre seo. Fear mór oideachais a bhí ann. Bhí áthas an domhain air nuair a d'ainmnigh Seán Ó Loingsigh é mar Aire Oideachais sa bhliain 1969. Is léir go raibh sé cumasach sa phost sin. Tá a thionchar fós le feiceáil sa chóras oideachais atá againn sa lá atá inniu ann.

Amidst the hectic debates we have in this House, I am conscious that we sometimes get into very heated arguments and forget that behind every Deputy there is an individual story. Political life can be a bear pit of rivalries and animosity at times, and sometimes the vocation seems to slide into rancour and pettiness. Behind this, however, lies a deeper commitment that binds public representatives of all political shades. We all believe that at the end of the day, through collective effort we can make a contribution to our community, county and country. This is particularly true about our late colleague, Pádraig Faulkner, who was a dedicated politician who served in this House for over 30 years. Before I recount the enormous achievements of his career, I again pass on my sincere sympathy to Pádraig's wife, Kitty; his three sons, Tom, Bartle and Pat; his daughter Mary; and all the grandchildren. The Faulkner family have lost a beloved husband and father, and this is a difficult and emotional time for them. We hope the memory of a life well lived, great moments shared, a great contribution to his country and of a loving and generous person will help sustain them in the weeks and months ahead.

Pádraig was born in Dundalk and, like many people in Irish families, he came from a mixed marriage, as his father was a Fine Gael supporter while his mother was staunchly Fianna Fáil. Thankfully for Fianna Fáil, Pádraig followed his mother's political outlook. Before being elected, Pádraig was a national school teacher and education was clearly one of the passions of his life. He would later manifest that during his term as Minister for Education. His commitment to public service was clear from a young age and it was that commitment to public service that brought Pádraig into Dáil Éireann.

He was first elected to the Dáil for Louth in 1957 the same year that his beloved Louth beat Cork in the All-Ireland final. That year is indelible in the mind of all Louth people and it is equally indelible in the minds of any Cork footballing family; I knew more about the 1957 All-Ireland final from my late father when I was growing up than any other final. It was the one that got away.

Pádraig had first run during a by-election in 1954 when Éamon de Valera was still Taoiseach. He shared the very competitive four-seater constituency of Louth with the great Civil War veteran Frank Aiken. He represented the people of Louth with great energy, vigour and diligence and he held an incredible array of portfolios over many Governments in his long career.

As a Border county, Louth would have been very close to the Troubles and the extraordinary stresses and challenges that the people faced. He was remarkably steadfast and loyal, providing much guidance to the then Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, during those very turbulent years and particularly during the very difficult time of the arms crisis. He firmly and passionately believed in a peaceful approach to resolving those challenges on the island of Ireland, and we are all glad he lived to see the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and the transformation in the sets of relationships between communities within Northern Ireland, people North and South and people in the UK and Ireland. He worked very hard for that throughout his political career.

Pádraig’s talents were wide-ranging and he was first appointed to a ministerial post when former Taoiseach Seán Lemass appointed him to the new post of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Gaeltacht in 1965. In this role Pádraig prioritised bringing industry and employment to Gaeltacht areas across the State. After this portfolio he was appointed as Minister for Lands and would have been instrumental in commencing the work on the DART, which is an integral part of the region's infrastructure. In 1969, former Taoiseach Jack Lynch appointed Pádraig as Minister for Education, where he served with distinction until 1973. In his memoirs he wrote about that period and, looking at the speeches he made about education, nobody could question his passion about this portfolio. He also spoke about the independence of church and State, as well as other lobby groups, in making key decisions.

He had the foresight in 1970 to allocate funds to educate more physical education teachers and he allocated money to send students to Strawberry Hill in London, as Ireland did not have a training facility then. That act was long before its time. Many of the early batch of physical education trainers in this country emanated from Strawberry Hill. He also announced, "a site has been acquired for the new institute of higher education in Limerick", and out of that came the University of Limerick, one of Ireland’s most successful newer and modern universities. Sometimes the leadership of these universities fails to trace the origins of their greatness to key decisions like that, which enabled them to develop.

He also started investment in recreational and sporting facilities around the country and he was one of the first Ministers to invite the youth and sporting clubs around the country to contact his Department to seek funding. They answered questionnaires, etc., so that money could be allocated to the neediest and most disadvantaged communities. That was the priority for a modest scheme at the time, and irrespective of political or electoral considerations, the allocation would be given to disadvantaged communities and those which needed it most.

Perhaps one of his greatest legacies was his belief in and development of regional colleges of education.

When one looks back at the history of Irish education, one of the great democratisers of participation in third level education was our regional colleges of education. Many people without the means to get to third level education accessed it via the regional technical education model. That brought about an extraordinary binary system in our third level sector which has served the country very well in terms of the attraction of inward investment and industry through the years. That was one of the great legacies to which he contributed in the evolution of our education system.

In many ways, he was left with the task of developing the free education initiative of Donogh O'Malley when he took up the portfolio. That meant the introduction of many more teachers and the development of our school transport system to accommodate the large extra number of students coming on stream to second level education.

When he was appointed as Minister for Posts and Telegraphs in 1977, he met the challenge of bringing the telephone into rural Ireland. It is hard to picture the scene back then. Perhaps the Taoiseach can picture it. We look at the revolution that has occurred in communications today, such as social media, but the basic telephone was not something that everybody had back in the 1970s. He was very involved in that and also in establishing An Post and Telecom Éireann on a statutory basis via legislation. He also served as Minister for Defence.

He contributed hugely to the social and economic development of our country in the second half of the 20th century. He served all of his years in Dáil Éireann with distinction and, as a result, was a very popular Ceann Comhairle when he was appointed in 1980. He served in a very even-handed and distinguished manner. He was always honest, honourable and true to himself, his family and his values and it is fair to say he was liked by Members on all sides of the House. The former Taoiseach, Garrett FitzGerald, praised "the calmness, coolness and judgments which Deputy Faulkner has applied in office... always with dignity and courtesy". After his retirement from the House, Pádraig continued to work tirelessly for his community and did tremendous work of collating a history of Dunleer with his son, Tom. This work will last for generations to come. Not satisfied with that, he also wrote and launched his memoirs entitled As I Saw It in 2005. It is a must-read and enlightening for any person interested in history, current affairs and politics. Clearly, he did not waste any of his precious time. He was a very proud Louth man and a genuine gentleman of Irish politics. In his time, he made a huge contribution to his county and country. He was a man of decency and good humour who delighted in the achievements of his family.

All of his family can be tremendously proud of those achievements and his contribution to Irish life. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Ba mhaith liom ar dtús mo chomhbhrón a chur in iúl leis an Teachta Ó Máirtín agus le páirtí Fhianna Fáil as ucht bás Pádraig Faulkner, a cailleadh beagnach bliain ó shin. Go speisialta, ba mhaith liom mo chomhbhrón a chur in iúl le bean chéile Pádraig Faulkner, Cáit, agus a chlann, Tomás, Bartle, Máire agus Pádraig.

Pádraig Faulkner was a politician who was bound by honour, duty and respect. It is a good thing for us to occasionally remind ourselves in this House of the intrinsic value of such qualities in public life. Indeed, in paying tribute to Pádraig Faulkner today in the House he served so well, we are paying equal tribute to deeply held personal qualities he brought to his public work. That was work he knew affected the reputation and well-being of our country and, therefore, our people and which he undertook as a consequence with probity, humility and sincerity.

During turbulent times for this State, Pádraig Faulkner served the people of Louth and his country with his characteristic courage and grace. He was always loyal to his people, party and colleagues in Fianna Fáil but, above all, he was loyal to those who gave him the most precious thing a democrat has - their vote. Even if they did not vote for him, they were his constituents and people and they knew he made them his own in all he did for them. There are many in this Dáil who never knew and did not have the occasion to engage with Pádraig Faulkner. Those of us who knew him well realised with sadness what his passing really is. Personally kind and politically very astute, he brought a precise sense of attention and detail to every aspect of his work, particularly when he sat in the Ceann Comhairle's chair when he carried the responsibilities the current Ceann Comhairle so ably carries. He was calm and steady, bringing to that role the necessary strength and order and dare I say it, in his Louth accent, with equanimity. He also brought compassion and common sense to his rulings as well as his sometimes unusual sense of humour.

As Deputy Martin pointed out, Pádraig Faulkner entered the Dáil just as the War of Independence and Civil War generation of Deputies, who had dominated this House since the 1920s, was moving on. His career bridged that period of time when the old made way for the new but he exemplified the value that marked that generation of leaders and that was of public service and putting people and country first. He served under four taoisigh - Éamon de Valera, Seán Lemass, Jack Lynch and Charles Haughey. He held the position of Minister in the Departments of Posts and Telegraphs, Tourism and Transport, Gaeltacht and Lands. I have occasion to remember his work as Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when the postal strike took place 34 years ago in a very different Ireland with a very different level of facilities. The crying need at that time in the middle of that strike was not related to the fodder crisis but the headage grants. Those Deputies and Senators of initiative and trust were able to sign in the Department of Agriculture for extensive numbers and volumes of headage cheques, which were more welcome than any postman ever seen in rural Ireland. In fact, the rush was always a case of who would get down first with which village or community's headage grants. Faulkner's cheques arrived one way or the other. As Deputy Martin pointed out, the DART system benefited from his early work.

Given the fact that his career generated many accolades, and rightly so, I suspect that his time as Minister for Education was the one that was most fulfilling for him. He took over from the late Donogh O'Malley and saw through the implementation of free second level education, which was a revolutionary fact in this country; the free school transport system through which the yellow buses became an indigenous part of our country; the establishment of community schools with parental involvement in the boards of management; the establishment of the National College of Art and Design on a sound legal footing; and the establishment of the National Council for Educational Rewards. These were all part of his portfolio of achievements in the Department of Education. His tenure also provided funds for the building of Oberstown and the long overdue closure of the reformatory in Daingean. Each of these was a considerable achievement but all of them together in that era when the country was coming through a very difficult period was quite remarkable.

I graduated as a primary school teacher from St. Patrick's Training College when one of the most far-reaching education initiatives of any era came into being. This was the introduction of the child-centred curriculum in primary education in 1971. I had the privilege of receiving an award of sorts from Pádraig Faulkner when he was Minister for Education in St. Patrick's Training College. Arguably, his piloting through of the child-centred curriculum was one of the most profound initiatives in education policy and the first major change in the primary curriculum since 1926.

This was the future of education as Pádraig Faulkner saw it. I have read his autobiography, As I Saw It, and it should be required reading for political students, would-be politicians and practitioners throughout the country because he was an administrator par excellence. More than this, he was a force for modernisation and a rock of common sense. He could see what needed to be done for the future. On the then Gaeltarra Éireann he stated people with business experience were needed to achieve the radical changes necessary.

His passing just over a year ago brought a heartbreaking change to the life of his family. Through his passionate belief in public service he left an enormous legacy and standards to people throughout the country and particularly those in County Louth. His wife Kitty and his children, Tom, with whom I was in training college, Bartle, Mary and Pat can be so proud of their husband and father. Go ndéanfaidh Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.

Ba bhaith liom thar cheann Pháirtí an Lucht Oibre comhbhrón a dhéanamh le clann Phádraig Uí Fhachtna agus freisin lena pháirtí, Fianna Fáil. On behalf of the Labour Party, I join the Taoiseach and Deputy Martin in welcoming members of the Faulkner family to the House and I pay tribute to the life and career of Pádraig Faulkner who served this House with distinction from 1957 to 1987. Deputy Martin outlined the many portfolios held by former Deputy Faulkner and it is quite a remarkable list. He was Minister for Lands, the Gaeltacht, Education, Posts and Telegraphs, Tourism and Transport and Defence. This is a tribute to Pádraig Faulkner and to Fianna Fáil's enduring electoral success over this period of time. Pádraig Faulkner served in every Fianna Fáil Government from 1965 to 1980, when he assumed the role of Ceann Comhairle which he held until 1981. By the time he stepped down from the Dáil at the 1987 general election, he had served the people of Louth for a remarkable 30 years and had earned the respect of politicians from all parties and none.

Bhí grá agus suim speisialta ag Pádraig Faulkner don Ghaeilge. Tháinig sé ó na glúine de mhúinteoirí a d'oibrigh go dian ar son na Gaeilge agus ar son chultúr na nGael. Gael den scoth a bhí ann. Ag an am céanna, ní raibh dearcadh dúnta aige ina Gaelachas nó ina náisiúnachas.

I did not know Pádraig Faulkner personally but I have read his book, As I Saw It. Deputy Martin highlighted many of his achievements and contributions over a very long period of time in public life. Perhaps the contribution for which he will be best remembered was his support for Jack Lynch at the time of the arms trial, an extremely turbulent period for Fianna Fáil and the country. As a Deputy representing a Border constituency during the early years of the Troubles, it took much courage and bravery to oppose violence and support democracy. He should be remembered in particular for this contribution and support at a very critical time. His commitment to these values, his service to the Government of the country, his public service and the work for those whom he represented in his constituency are rightly recognised in the House today. I again express my sympathy to his family and Fianna Fáil. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Ba mhaith liom mo chómhbhrón a dhéanamh le clann Pádraig Faulkner agus le Fianna Fáil. Ní raibh aithne agam ar Phádraig Faulkner. Mar a dúirt ceannaire Fhianna Fail, an Taoiseach agus an Tánaiste, bhí sé mar Theachta Dála don dáilcheantar - Lú - ar feadh tréimhse fada. Chuala mé a lán scéalta faoi. Fear uasal agus Teachta Dála iontach ab ea é, de réir mhuintir Chontae Lú, muintir na háite agus, go háirithe, pobal Dhún Dealgan.

On behalf of Sinn Féin I extend my deepest condolences to the family of former Ceann Comhairle and Fianna Fáil Minister, Pádraig Faulkner, who died a year ago. I also extend my sympathy to Fianna Fáil, which has lost an industrious member who in a long career in politics contributed significantly and hugely to the party.

Mr. Faulkner was born in Dundalk and represented the constituency of Louth which I now have the honour of representing. He did so with great diligence for 30 years from 1957 to 1987. I never met him and did not know him, but I knew of him and it is clear from all of those who did know him or knew of his role as a Deputy, six time Minister, Ceann Comhairle and member of the Council of State that he was very highly and deservedly respected.

Mr. Faulkner was also a husband, father and grandfather and it is particularly poignant and fitting that a third generation of his family is here to listen to his achievements. To his wife Kitty, sons Tom, Bartle and Pat, daughter Mary, son-in-law Frank, grandchildren, extended family circle and his many friends I extend my deepest condolences. His death may have been a year ago but I am sure they feel his loss every single day, and his wife in particular must feel his absence. I am sure they will get some condolence and consolation and great comfort from knowing he made many positive contributions during his life to the well-being of the people of Louth and the State and, of course, to his family. Go ndéanfaidh Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.

Ba mhaith liom, ar son na dTeachtaí Neamhspleácha sa Teach seo, fíor-fháilte a chur roimh chlann Pádraig Faulkner atá sa Dáil tráthnóna inniu. On behalf of the Independent Deputies, I express our sympathy to the family of the late Pádraig Faulkner. Dunleer lost one of its most famous sons with the death of the former Minister and Ceann Comhairle, Pádraig Faulkner, at the age of 94. He was one of the foremost political figures in the country for a generation and was first elected to the Dáil in 1957, the year before I was born, having been encouraged by Eamon De Valera to do so. He held a number of ministerial positions until his retirement in 1987.

He served as Minister in a number of portfolios, including the Gaeltacht, Education, Posts and Telegraphs, Tourism and Transport and Defence. Deputy Faulkner was first elected to the Dáil as a Deputy for Louth and served as Ceann Comhairle from October 1980 to June 1981. He was born on 12 March 1918 and was the son of a farmer. He attended Dundalk CBS before going to St. Patrick's College of Education in Drumcondra and qualifying as a múinteoir scoile.

His love of politics began courtesy of his parents when he was growing up in Dunleer. He unsuccessfully stood for the Dáil as a 36 year old Fianna Fáil candidate in 1954. After this he helped shape generations to come. He smoothed the path to free education, urging the need for more teachers and school transport. He introduced the laws which saw An Post and Telecom Éireann founded and helped bring the telephone to many rural homes as he backed European policy in this regard. I remember when the first telephone arrived in my house and, as I tell my children today, we were almost afraid of it because it rang through the post office and had to be switched through. We were afraid of it and it was minded. Now my children have all types of devices.

He was a champion of future technology. As Minister for Tourism and Transport, he ensured the DART was delivered despite mixed political support. It remains one of his greatest legacies. When he was Minister for Education from July 1969 to March 1973, he was the organiser of the regional college concept, which has since made such a significant and vital contribution to the development and expansion of education in Ireland. We are all aware of that, especially those of us who come from the regions.

When he retired 25 years ago, he became an even bigger part of the community in his beloved Dunleer. He did a lot of research on its past with his son, Tom, a former principal of Dunleer national school, and ensured that a lot of information is preserved in electronic form for generations to come. I am delighted to welcome his family today. He was a man of considerable integrity and a very quiet disposition and he was liked by all. That was proven when he was elected as Ceann Comhairle. He has left a rich legacy and heritage to his family. I wish to express my sympathy to his wife, Kitty, and his family, Tom, Bartle, Pat and Mary and their spouses, his sister, Theresa Clare, grandchildren, nephews and nieces, and the wider family circle. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Ba mhaith liom mo chomhbhrón a dhéanamh le clann Phádraig Uí Fhachtna, a bhean chéile, Kitty, agus a chlann uilig. Bhí aithne mhaith agam ar Phádraig le tamall fada. Bhí an-suim ar fad aige i gcursaí Gaeilge ach go háirithe. Is minic agus is mó an chaint a bhí agam leis, de ghnáth as Gaeilge. Bhí an-suim aige sa dúthaigh ina raibh mé i mo mhac léinn agus mar bhall den bhardas.

Pádraig Faulkner had a great interest in his local community. I speak as someone who knew him. There were three very powerful political figures when I was growing up. One was Pádraig Faulkner, another was Paddy Donegan and the third man was Jimmy Tully in County Meath. As Deputy Kirk could confirm, they all filled the pages of the Drogheda Independent. There was no local radio, but the punches and blows in the Dáil were deeply scrutinised. Pádraig was a very popular local Deputy. He was a particularly hard-working Deputy. He was in the Foresters' Hall at 6.30 p.m. every Monday night. One could walk in there, as I did on occasion, to meet him and to talk to him about constituency matters. He attended many funerals. As my colleagues from Drogheda are aware, he knew practically the entire town. Everybody respected him. Whether they voted for him was a different matter. People had the height of respect for him.

I speak as someone who obviously did not vote for him in 1977, but it was the greatest success Fianna Fáil had. The double F was the logo for Fianna Fáil but in that election it was the triple F in Fianna Fáil – Farrell, Filgate and Faulkner. Fianna Fáil returned three seats out of four to Leinster House. That stuck in my memory for a long time. For those who are connoisseurs of politics, there was not a vote between the Fianna Fáil candidates. There were only four seats. The candidates were properly regimented in historic Fianna Fáil tradition. It was a great credit to Pádraig Faulkner and his commitment to his party that the three Fianna Fáil candidates succeeded in that election. On another occasion they were successful also.

Pádraig Faulkner will be long remembered as a very honourable, decent, upright and honest man. His family can be very proud of him and his memory. He is held in the highest esteem regardless of political party allegiance in County Louth.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the tributes to the late Pádraig Faulkner. He was a man of immense political stature for 30 years or more. Honesty, integrity and practical patriotism were his calling card.

He was an officeholder for 16 of his 30 years in this House. His period as Minister for Education saw considerable, progressive change in a vital area of public policy. The concept of the regional college structure, nowadays institutes of technology, was born during his time at the Department of Education. This tier of third level education has made a huge difference and continues to provide skilled personnel for so many areas of the economy.

As Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, he set the scene for the establishment of An Post and Telecom Éireann as two commercial semi-State companies. His decision set in train a communications revolution with a large capital programme. The availability of a modern communication network played no small part in the country’s economic development since then. As Minister for Tourism and Transport, despite much criticism, he took a courageous decision to proceed with the DART project in Dublin. To quote a remark he made later, “I was happy to be told that the number of passenger journeys has reached 15 million this year”. During the 1980s he was Ceann Comhairle when a number of elections were held in rapid succession. He was appointed to the Council of State in 1990.

The constituents of Louth were always a top priority with him during his years as a Member of Dáil Éireann. We shared the constituency from November 1982 until he retired in 1987. The working relationship was always cordial and co-operative. I very much appreciated his sound advice and considerable mentoring skills during that period. On his retirement from the House, his interest in politics and history never waned. I regularly had the opportunity to reflect on political happenings and to avail of his considerable experience when considering the many issues that arise in every constituency from time to time.

I join in the vote of sympathy to a very distinguished family - his widow, Kitty, and to all the members of the family, Tom, Bartle, Pat and Mary, his in-laws and grandchildren. Ar dheis lámh Dé go raibh a anam dilís.

The late Pádraig Faulkner was a true steward of the Dáil and a brilliant elected representative of County Louth. He graced this land for 94 years but it was his 30 years of service in this House that marked him as special. He lived through and played a key role in some of the most dramatic events in the history of the State. He was elected to the Dáil in 1957, a notable year for County Louth, and remained a Deputy until 1987. His 30 years of continuous service to his country is unlikely to be seen again.

He was a true Louth man, having gone to school in the Christian Brothers in Dundalk and hailing from Dunleer in mid-Louth. His good nature was evident from his charity work in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul while studying to be a teacher in St. Patrick’s College. Having failed to be elected in 1954, he completed that feat three years later. After that, he would help to shape generations to come. He smoothed the path to free education and championed the need for more teachers and school transport. He introduced the legislation to set up An Post and Telecom Éireann and helped extend the telephone service to many rural areas, as he backed the European policy in that regard. As Minister for Tourism and Transport, he ensured the DART was built despite mixed political support. It remains one of his greatest legacies.

As Minister for Education from July 1969 to March 1973, he was the originator of the regional college concept, which has since made such a significant and vital contribution to the development and extension of education in County Louth and in this country as a whole. When he retired 25 years ago, he became an even bigger part of the community in his beloved Dunleer and gave back to mid-Louth.

During his political career he served as Minister in numerous portfolios, including as Minister for the Gaeltacht, Minister for Education, Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, Minister for Tourism and Transport and Minister for Defence. He was a proud Louth man and a great gentleman of politics. In his time, Pádraig Faulkner made a massive contribution to his constituency and the country. Pádraig was a man of decency, good humour and integrity. He epitomised the spirit of decency of Louth. He will be remembered fondly by those who knew him and those who supported him generously in the ballot box. I give my vote of sympathy to Kitty and the family.

As a Deputy for Louth, I very much welcome the opportunity to share the tributes made to a very decorated predecessor in my county, the late Pádraig Faulkner. His family, his party – Fianna Fáil - his village of Dunleer, and the county of which he was immensely proud, can be immensely proud of his achievements, his integrity and his record of selfless public service.

The best tribute I can pay, arguably, to Louth’s most successful politician is to say that his name, his achievements and his fine legacy will live very long in the memory. I was never fortunate enough to have met him in person. He retired from elected office when I was just 11 years of age. He was very much a household name in the county that I am proud to represent. He was a man who, when many of the ills that had infected politics came to the surface, stood proudly and courageously as a paragon of integrity. His time as a public representative was absolutely synonymous with the values and principles of honesty, decency and integrity in public life and in the highest of public office.

Importantly, he was proud to be a famous son of Dunleer. From speaking with locals in the village and across the wider county, I know that he was proud of that village. He wrote and researched widely on the history of the village and the mid-Louth area with his son, Tom.

As Deputy Martin mentioned, he was also synonymous with one of the most significant social measures ever introduced in this State. The development of the regional technical college, RTC, sector gave opportunities for further and higher education to segments of Irish society that previously could only longingly aspire to higher education attainment and advancement. This was a crucial development in the making of a better, more equal Ireland. It is a tremendous epitaph for any political career when it can be said with certainty that one's work made Ireland a more equal country and a better place in which to live.

I take this opportunity to express my personal condolences and the condolences of all members of the Labour Party in County Louth to his family - his wife, Kitty, his daughter, Mary, and his sons, Tom, Bartle and Pat - and to the people of Dunleer and Louth on our recent loss.

Members rose.