Since our last meeting Senators will have learned with deep regret of the sudden death of our colleague Senator Owen Sheehy Skeffington.
Born and educated in Dublin, he entered Trinity College in 1927 and graduated from there with a first class moderatorship in modern languages. He later studied at the Ecole Normale and at the Sorbonne and held doctorates from the Sorbonne and the University of Dublin. He joined the academic staff of Trinity College in 1934 and was appointed reader in French in 1954.
A man of strong humanist and liberal beliefs he was a central figure in many public controversies. In debate he was fearless, ardently and relentlessly espousing the causes he championed. He was never dismayed if his point of view was a minority one and indeed seemed at times to revel in a position of isolation.
First elected a Member of the Seanad in 1954 by the graduates of the University of Dublin he was again elected at the Seanad General Elections of 1957, 1965 and 1969.
As a Senator he was most zealous in his parliamentary duties and rarely missed a meeting of the Seanad. The range of his interests was wide and he employed his qualities of wit and irony to lend force and cogency to his arguments. His contributions always compelled attention. Though few Senators had not crossed swords with him at one time or another, no one could with-hold admiration for his honesty, integrity and moral courage.
Of a courteous and kindly disposition in personal relations his sense of humour endeared him to all with whom he came in contact. In Senator Sheehy Skeffington we have lost a colleague whose gifts of intelligence, courage and humanity were widely appreciated and whose passing will be keenly felt.
On behalf of the Cathaoirleach and Members of this House I wish to convey to the widow and family of the late Senator our sympathy and appreciation.
Senators rose in their places.