The members of the House will have learned with profound regret of the tragically sudden death of Deputy T.J. Murphy, the Minister for Local Government. Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam.
Never, I think, did the last words of any public man more fittingly express the dearest object of his life-work in the service of the people. "I believe," he was saying, "the first step is to remove a considerable section of the public from hovels and slums, and to give them an opportunity of bringing up their children...." He repeated the words "their children", and died.
Throughout the long period since, as a very young man, he first became active in public affairs, Tadhg Murphy's constant purpose was to serve every section of the people, and particularly those whose need was the greatest. Though we were in different Parties, he and I were the closest friends. I knew his deep anxiety for the welfare of the poor, to relieve their hardships, to improve their living conditions, to give them, as he was saying with his last breath, an opportunity of bringing up their children in decency and comfort. Never, during the many years of our friendship, did I hear him say one bitter word, even about those with whose views and actions he most profoundly disagreed. That he gave me his friendship, trust and confidence is a memory which I value more than any words of mine could express.
Since he became a member of the Government, I and his other colleagues have profited by his great experience and gifts of quiet counsel and earnest purpose. When, to-day, we met as the Government, it was with sad hearts, realising how great is the loss we have sustained, but it was also with the resolve that the plans which he had laid and the projects which he had formulated will be carried out by his successor, with the co-operation of the Government as a whole.
Tadhg Murphy was a man who entered the public service, continued in the public service and died in the public service without any thought for himself. Every ounce of his energy he gave for the people, and particularly for the poor. It may, indeed, be truly said of him that he spent himself for the Irish people and died in their service.
I ask you, a Chinn Chomhairle, to convey to his widow and family, the sincere sympathy of Dáil Éireann.
Deputies rose in their places.