DEATH OF SENATOR SIGERSON.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

In accordance with my duty under our Standing Orders, I have to announce, with the most sincere sorrow and regret, sorrow and regret which, I am certain, will be shared in every quarter of this House, that since our last meeting Senator Dr. George Sigerson has passed away. With the indulgence of the House, I would just like to say a word or two with reference to the loss which the nation and this House has sustained. He was a man of exceptional gifts which he displayed in very many fields of activity in public life, and I may use in regard to him and in respect of those activities the familiar quotation:Nihil quod tetigit non ornavit. He lived a life full of years and full of honour, because his great services to his country and his profession were recognised by most of our great learned societies, who conferred upon him the distinction of their Honorary Fellowships.

In contrast to these great gifts, he was one of the most unassuming of men, and here in this House during the time he was with us, we recognised the greatness of his genius as well as his love for his country and his fellow-countrymen. He had strong feelings and convictions on the great political questions of his day, but he wrote of these and he discussed these, always without bitterness or rancour; while in private life, to those who, like myself to a small extent, had knowledge and experience of him, he was a delightful companion and a loyal friend. I hope I may be allowed, in the name of this House and of my colleagues, to convey to those who have been left behind him, an expression of our very deep regret and sorrow for his death.

In accordance again with my duty under the Standing Orders, after announcing the fact of the resignation or death of a Senator, I have to fix a date, at an interval not less than one fortnight, for the filling of this vacancy. A curious little question arises whether that fortnight includes to-day. If it is exclusive of to-day, of course, the earliest date on which the election could take place would be to-morrow fortnight. As far as I can make out, it will not be necessary or desirable that we should meet next week, and consequently I suggest to the House that if we are to meet in the following week we should meet on Thursday. That will give a full fortnight and we can proceed to the election, without fear of contravening our Standing Orders, on Thursday fortnight. I wish to remind the House that all nominations to the vacancy must be sent in within a week from to-day, that is to say, the last day for sending in nominations will be next Tuesday. I have previously prepared forms of nomination which are now in print and which, I think, comply with our Standing Orders in every particular. If they are of any assistance to a member wishing to nominate a Senator, he can get those forms on application to our Clerk.

I am sure the Seanad will agree that it is only right and fitting that some expression of the loss we have sustained owing to the death of Senator Dr. Sigerson, who was practically the Father of this House, should be made. Senators will agree that some notice is appropriate and desirable. To those of us who knew Dr. Sigerson personally, his death comes as the loss of a very deep personal friend. I regret the death of Senator Dr. Sigerson more from the point of view of his loss to the country. He was a great outstanding figure; he was known and honoured all over the world, firstly as an eminent practitioner in his profession, and, secondly, for his amazing intellectual capacity, and for the inestimable services which he rendered, in the literary sphere, to the country to which he belonged. Most of us have been privileged to read his works. They are marvels of research and erudition. Certainly, our late colleague has left his mark upon the times in which he lived, a mark which will remain for generations to come; and, in mourning the loss of this distinguished man, we must also render tribute to his persistency and courage, and as you very rightly said, the modesty, of his support of the aspirations and interests of his own country. We may take an example from him in how to serve our own country without offending anybody else. I join with you in expressing my deep regret.

A Chathaoirligh, ní fhéadaim gan focal nó dó do rádh i dtaoibh ár gcarad, sean-ghaisgídheach na h-Éireann, atá, faraoir! anois ar lár, ins an teangaidh sin ba bhinn leis féin. Ba stairidhe, ba fhile, ba fhear ealadhna, ba fhear-státa é, a raibh a chlú go fóir-leathan ar fud na tíre seo; agus thar lear mar an gcéadna. Do bhí aithne agam ar mo shean-charaid ar feadh dhachad bliadhan, agus cara do b'fhearr ná é ní raibh ag éinne riamh. Gach Gaedheal d'fhulaing ar son na hÉireann né no rinne obair mhaith ar son na h-Éireann, bhí teach agus díon agus baile eile aige i dtigh Dochtúir Mac Sigir. Agus níl fhios ag éinne againn cia mhéid oibre rinne sé nach bhfuil clóbhuailte. Chualaidh mé ó n-a bhéal féin dánta chomh maith le h-aon dán do chlóbhuail sé agus, mar shaoil mise, níos fearr ná iad, agus ní fhacaidh na dánta sin an solus riamh. Go mbadh éadtrom an chréafóg ar ár sean-charaid, seanleomhan na tíre agus sean-ghaisgídheach na h-Éireann, an Dochtúir Mac Sigir!

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Those who agree that I should convey to the members of his family the expression of our sincere regret and our sorrow at the death of our colleague will rise in their seats.

Motion carried, Senators standing.