Gnó an tSeanaid - Business of Seanad

Before I call the Leader, I am sure that she will join with me in expressing our sympathies to the family of the late great Mr. Tom Burke. Many Members will have known Mr. Burke from the time he spent taking photographs outside the front gates of Leinster House. We all, including, I am sure, the Leader and many others, had our photographs taken by Mr. Burke down through the years. He was outside Kildare House and Leinster House for nearly 50 years and captured images of people with cups of coffee and in unguarded moments. He was always a great character. We express our sympathies on the sad passing of Mr. Burke to his wife Mel, and his children, Paul, Aidan, Yvonne, Derek and Elaine, and to all his grandchildren. I am sure that his colleagues in the media world will also be sad for the family's great loss as well.

I concur with the Cathaoirleach. When I heard the news about Mr. Burke's passing yesterday, it was like someone in my extended family had passed away. That is how sad I felt. When I first became a Member of the Oireachtas in 2011, it would not have been possible to meet a nicer person. Mr. Burke was engaging, warm and friendly. What is so sad about his passing yesterday is that it happened so quickly after his retirement. He was looking forward to a long retirement after having worked so hard in one industry with dedication for so many years. It is a real tragedy. I extend my condolences to Mel and to all the family. We are thinking about them.