Retirement of Staff Member

I welcome the Minister, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, a distinguished former Member, back to the Seanad. I also welcome colleagues back. I want to do something that is not on the agenda but which will, I have no doubt, win the approval of everybody here.

While we will not be able to allow for tributes from Members around the House on this occasion, I know I speak for every Member when I say a fond farewell to a former member of staff of this House, Ms Josie Briody, who recently left on early retirement. Since beginning here in the late 1970s, she has worked in many offices including human resources, the Seanad Office, the Office of the Ceann Comhairle and the Clerk of the Dáil's office, and, of late, she was clerk to the Joint Committee on Agriculture and the Marine. Josie has given outstanding service to all of us who have worked with her and always has done so with a smile.

I will say something we all say privately and publicly, which is that we are very blessed to have a wonderful permanent Civil Service, which can serve all Administrations and all Members of the House in a fair and impartial way. Josie was a great exemplar of this. She was one of the finest public servants here.

She also has a lovely personal demeanour and accessibility and a way with people. She spent more than 40 years here. She is a proud Cavan woman, a native of Mullahoran, which is a great GAA area. She is a great lover of Gaelic games and would return to Cavan for all significant matches, which we do, occasionally, win. Josie is a wonderful person loved by everyone on the staff. The staff and Members will miss her. She also will be missed as clerk to the Joint Committee on Agriculture and the Marine. I believe I speak for everybody today. There is nobody who would not want to make this speech or to add to it. Well done to Josie. We wish her a very happy, long, pleasant and fulfilling retirement. Members may applaud if they feel that is appropriate.