Tribute to Brian McNamara

Before proceeding to Questions on Promised Legislation, I think it is appropriate that the House would acknowledge the recent retirement of Brian McNamara, the Oireachtas chef. He has left us after 40 years of service in our restaurants. Members, staff and visitors have benefited from Brian's skills and dedication in the Oireachtas kitchen.

Brian came to us from the old Hibernian Hotel. After starting out in the Oireachtas kitchen as a pastry chef, he progressed to become a trained master butcher. That was in the days when sides of beef and lamb were delivered here.

Most of us at some point have enjoyed a sirloin steak expertly prepared by Brian. I can personally attest to having enjoyed maybe too many of those over several years. Brian has spent many long days and nights with his close-knit team in the kitchen, working to provide us all with breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between.

The work of a chef is stressful and physically demanding in any environment, but Brian has given 40 years of his life to such a role within a uniquely challenging environment of extended sittings, unexpected sittings and visiting dignitaries. He has dealt with all of these with good humour and resilience, ensuring that, whatever is happening in the Dáil and Seanad Chambers, at least no one will ever go hungry. We wish him a long, enjoyable and happy retirement.