Tributes on Retirement of Member of Staff

Before proceeding to the Order of Business, I draw Members' attention to the fact that Patricia Doran, sitting here in front of me, is with us on her final day of service in Leinster House. Patricia has served in the Oireachtas for 28 years and today is embarking on early retirement. I know most, if not all, Members present have benefited from her wise counsel, her good humour, her straight-talking ability and her commitment to working well and efficiently, particularly under pressure. All of us are fortunate with the calibre of staff supporting us in our work. Patricia typifies all that is good, decent and honourable about the Civil Service.

For my own part, after three years in this particular job, Patricia has been a rich source of procedural knowledge and expert advice. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Standing Orders, salient rulings of the Chair and general procedural matters. She has many interests, thank God, outside this Chamber. I know she has many plans once she escapes from us. She leaves with sincere thanks from all of us on a job extremely well done. She should be proud of her exemplary service to the Houses of the Oireachtas, to Members and, through us in the House, to the country as a whole.

I also take the opportunity to thank Patricia. I have been here for over 20 years and Patricia has been a permanent fixture in different parts of this system for nearly a decade longer. I am sure she is a little uncomfortable with us talking about her as the focus of attention today. Normally, she is facilitating the other egos in this House to be the centre of attention. I thank her because, without people like Patricia Doran, democracy as we know it today would not function. She has been extraordinarily professional, patient at times, as well as firm at times. She has worked in the Journal Office, the Bills Office, various committees and the IT section.

She has been involved in House services and more recently, has assisted the Ceann Comhairle in his office, in more ways than one. At the end of a very significant and successful career here, on behalf of this House I wish to thank Patricia for all the work that she has done and wish her well for the future. I am sure that she will not miss us perhaps as much as she says. She will have the chance to focus on and explore so many opportunities when she leaves this House. I thank her for her many, many years of service. It is deeply appreciated.

I dtús báire ba mhaith liom ar mo shon féin agus ar son ár bpáirtí ár mbuíochas a ghabháil le Patricia as ucht an mhéid oibre a chuir sí isteach i rith na mblianta as son na Dála agus an Oireachtais i gcoitinne. Ba mhaith linn comhghairdeas a dhéanamh léi as ucht an mhéid atá bainte amach aici agus as an tslí a oibríonn sí lá i ndiaidh lae.

I thank Patricia sincerely for her outstanding work on behalf of our Parliament and of Members of the Dáil. The Ceann Comhairle said that she has an encyclopaedic knowledge of procedures, of that I have no doubt, but she probably has an equally encyclopaedic knowledge of all the attempts and tricks of the trade which Members of Parliament may attempt from time to time to circumnavigate procedures. To discharge her duties, she had to display incredible patience, tolerance and indulgence of the most appalling attempts by Members of the House to get around procedures. Sometimes when we would see her looking back at the Ceann Comhairle to give a bit of an instruction, one would have a sinking feeling that one's attempt was going to be dashed without a doubt, and that would turn out to be the case. To manage to keep some degree of order and a framework over this House is an enormous challenge. It is because of Patricia and her colleagues that that has been achieved with such regularity so often. She went beyond the call of duty to ensure that the House ran as smoothly as possible. On behalf of the party and myself, I thank her sincerely. I understand that life outside Dáil Éireann is extraordinary indeed and she really will develop new experiences as she escapes from Leinster House, as the Ceann Comhairle put it. I wish her the best of luck.

I am not a party leader just yet -----

The Deputy's performance today would bode well for him.

I have not had the same level of engagement that party leaders would have had with Patricia but I recognise, and we in this House all know, that she has been a very professional and committed public servant for a long number of years. The Ceann Comhairle and others have outlined the different roles that she has held in the Oireachtas. She has been a very honourable and decent public servant. I wish her well in her retirement and all the good things that she seeks to do when she leaves here. On behalf of Sinn Féin I wish her the very best.

I have the privilege in various guises of working with Patricia over many years, including during a stint as Leas-Cheann Comhairle. I am very much aware of the depth of knowledge but also the clarity of opinion that Patricia possesses. At moments of crisis in this House when there are disputes about issues, one needs somebody who can say with clarity what the rule is and to be firm in its interpretation. Patricia has always been that fantastic public servant.

We are very well served by the officers of this House. Our democracy is sustained by that level of expertise and commitment. On my behalf and that of the Labour Party, I wish Patricia many, many years of retirement, when no doubt she will take on many new careers. Her extraordinary contribution to the workings of democracy are greatly appreciated by us all.

Ba mhaith liom mo chomhghairdeas a ghabháil ar son na Rural Independents do Patricia. Thirty years or more is a great service, which was done so unassumingly and effectively. No matter what the issue, she was always so friendly. I recall one occasion.

I was a buachaill dána and I had to leave the House. Patricia was advising the Ceann Comhairle, but she does it always in a very nice way.

Yes, I did. Tharla sé sin lá amháin.

I want especially to thank Patricia for her kindness, courtesy and indeed sound advice at the different committees at which I have worked with her. On behalf of the Rural Independents, I wish Patricia many happy years of - I will not say retirement - enjoyment in the rest of her life and that she will enjoy the many things that she could not when she was often long hours here. We kept her late, and early, indeed. I wish Patricia good health and happiness. Go n-éirí go geal leat, Patricia.

I just wanted to wish Patricia well. My main dealings with Patricia have been when she has come up to check whether I have ten Members to take a vote, which has often been our wont. I hope she really enjoys her retirement. I thank her for her very fair dealings at all times.

I will not prolong Patricia's agony. I am sure she is not exactly loving any of this. On behalf of Independents 4 Change, and certainly as a member of the Business Committee, it has been my privilege to work alongside her. She embodies a quintessential lady with the heart of a tiger which I think is what we need. She is firm and effective. The world's gain is our loss in here. I wish her all the very best.

I too would like to wish Patricia well. There are people in this House who one always expects to be there and Patricia is one of those. Obviously, Patricia is someone on whom one can rely. If she went and checked something, the advice she gave on her return was absolutely right. That is because of years of being consistent. That is to her credit. I wish Patricia well for the future. She will add her name to the list of those who describe themselves as Oireachtas survivors. I hope she survives for a very long time and has a very fruitful retirement.

There is a tradition I like where we, on entering or leaving this Chamber, nod, bow or whatever - various versions thereof - to the Chair. I think it is not only to the Chair. It is to the civil servants in front of the Ceann Comhairle as well. We do not have a mace in this House. Our mace is those screens, that rule book and those Standing Orders on the desk in front of Patricia and Peter. We respect them because of the quality of the work that they, and Patricia, exemplify. Thank you very much, Patricia.