Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

We now proceed to expressions of sympathy on the death of the former Fine Gael Member, Donal Creed, father of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Michael Creed. Before calling on Members to offer their tributes to our distinguished former colleague, I welcome his family to the Distinguished Visitors Gallery. I welcome Donal's wife, Madeleine; our good friend and colleague, Michael; Donal's daughters, Michelle, Madeleine, Suzanne and Louise; and his grandchildren and extended family members who are here. They are all very welcome to Leinster House this afternoon. We know that this is a poignant day for them, tinged with bittersweet memories, as they join us in the Dáil Chamber where Donal spent so many years serving his country and the people of his beloved Cork. As we gather to reflect on Donal's life and political legacy, I hope that the memories shared here in the Chamber will serve to support his family in some small way. We also pause to remember Donal's daughter, Claire, who passed away a short time before his own death in late 2017.

I did not know Donal personally, but this proud son of Macroom had an electoral record which we experts in this Chamber can only admire. Serving from 1965 to 1989 was a fine achievement, particularly when constituency reconfigurations created the three-seat constituency of Cork North-West in 1981. As a Deputy from another competitive three-seater, I salute Donal's enviable achievement. He served with distinction at many different levels, including local, national and European, and in a number of Ministries of State, as well as in senior positions within the Fine Gael Party. It must have been a source of great pride for him to see his son, Michael, promoted to the key portfolio of agriculture. In his 24 years in this Chamber, Donal Creed assisted many people who were experiencing difficulties locally and nationally. As a hard-working Deputy, he reassured many people and made life better for many of them. He did this out of a strong sense of public duty. This public service was clearly supported by a loving family and an enviable political network in Cork North-West.

Today in this Chamber, we salute his contribution to our national Parliament and his family should take comfort in the practical application of honourable patriotism shown by Donal Creed.

Táim buíoch as an deis seo chun ómós a thabhairt do cheann dár mBaill a thug seirbhís den chéad scoth sa Teach seo, le 24 bliana. Ba pholaiteoir iontach é an iar-Theachta Donal Creed a d’oibrigh go dian ar son mhuintir Chorcaigh agus na tíre, mar Theachta Dála, mar Aire Stáit, agus mar cheann de na chéad Feisirí de Pharlaimint na hEorpa. Mar Aire Stáit, chuir sé go mór agus go suntasach le cúrsaí sláinte, cúrsaí oideachais agus cúrsaí chomhsaoil. Is cuid dá n-oidhreacht é an Crannchur Náisiúnta freisin. Tá a oidhreacht le feiceáil chomh maith sa feabhas mór atá tagtha ar áiseanna spóirt ar fud na tíre.

Sometimes, to get the true measure of a politician, we should read what their opponents say about them. If we read what Donal Creed’s political opponents said about him, we will find a portrait of a talented, hard working, patriotic politician, who put aside party differences to effect real change for his constituents. For example, I was struck by something Tom Meaney of Fianna Fáil said about Donal Creed. Like Donal, Tom was first elected to the Dáil in 1965 for the Cork Mid constituency, and he paid a wonderful tribute to Donal, praising him for his "political brain, his great grasp of affairs" and for his ability to work with opponents to get the best outcome for his constituents.

In Cork, as we all know, the Creed name has a long and proud lineage. Family members signed the nomination papers for Terence MacSwiney in 1918. Donal's father, Mick, was a hard-working and respected councillor, and today his son, Michael, continues that proud history of public service as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. I remember at Donal's funeral something his daughter, Marcella, said, which has stayed with me ever since. She said that her father was very proud to have been the driving force behind the establishment of the national lottery, a body that has helped communities all across the country, and that he did do so despite stiff opposition at the time. He was much more proud of the fact that he had been continuously endorsed by the people of Cork in every election between 1965 and 1989, when he stepped down. He was proud that the people he cared about so deeply recognised his contribution and rewarded him with their trust and, above all, their votes.

Many in my party remember his kindness in taking new Deputies under his wing, and it was always said that his concern was never for Donal Creed, but for Fine Gael and for Ireland. His generosity of spirit and party loyalty was always in evidence during an election, when he did everything possible to secure a second seat for Fine Gael in his constituency, first in Cork Mid and later in Cork North-West. I know his son wants to emulate that task as well. He also brought the same skills to bear as chair of the parliamentary party. As we approach European elections, we should recall that Donal was one of our first MEPs, serving with distinction between 1973 and 1977. He firmly believed that Ireland's future was at the heart of Europe, and that Europe allowed us to escape from the shackles of our past. As Minister of State in the Departments of Health, Environment and Local Government, and Education, he played a notable role in public life and the national lottery is a remarkable legacy.

Of course, Donal’s first love and his true love was farming. I have heard that after retirement he could often be seen outside with a wheelbarrow and he took a special interest in the new season’s potatoes, which he believed were the best anywhere. A loving family man, in later years he enjoyed spending time with his 25 grandchildren. I am told he could be found playing in the sandpit with them, or sliding down the bannister, and his wife, Madeleine, could be sometimes heard telling him, "Donal, you are worse than any child." That he was "one of nature’s gentlemen" is a tribute that was paid on his retirement from public life. That he was one of Cork’s great public figures is the tribute I would like to pay today. I offer my sympathies and condolences to his wife Madeleine, their children Marcella, Michelle, Madeleine, Suzanne, Louise and Michael, and their grandchildren and extended family. We also remember their two children who predeceased him, Nuala and Claire. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Ba mhaith liom, ar mo shon féin agus ar son Pháirtí Fhianna Fáil, comhbhrón a dhéanamh le clann Creed as ucht bás Donal agus ár mbuíochas a ghabháil leo as ucht an méid a rinne Donal ar son mhuintir na tíre seo le blianta beaga anuas. Níl aon amhras orainn ach gur pholaiteoir den scoth a bhí i nDonal. Fear lách, cneasta ab ea é agus d'oibrigh sé go dian dícheallach ar son mhuintir a dhúiche lá i ndiaidh lae. Tírghráthóir a bhí ann agus bhí sé macánta agus láidir ina chuid tuairimí.

Donal Creed had a long, productive and distinguished life as a political representative. Without question, he made a very significant contribution to political life in Ireland, building on a strong legacy of public service that was instilled in the Creed family from the earliest days of the Irish State. In many respects, the Dáil was a home from home for Donal as he served in this House for 24 years. He contested eight general elections, four in the constituency of Mid Cork and four in Cork North-West. He was an electoral powerhouse and was successful every time. He had that capacity to transcend partisan party loyalties, which was evidenced by the wonderful tribute Tom Meaney paid to Donal.

As the Taoiseach said, he was also a pioneering member of Ireland's representation in the European Parliament at the very earliest stages from 1973 to 1977. He understood early on the centrality of belonging to the then EEC and the European Union to Ireland's future and, in particular, to the well-being of our agrifood industry and farming community. In many respects, he was a lone Deputy in the Mid Cork constituency but, as the Taoiseach said, when he moved to Cork North-West, Fine Gael was taking two out of three seats there. The arrival of Deputy Michael Moynihan on the scene changed that; I remember having a role in it at the time. It is a bit of a bellwether constituency, as we know, and I assure the Taoiseach that we will be keeping a close eye on it in the coming while.

Donal, of course, contested a by-election in 1965 and a general election soon followed that. On a lighter note, I understand that his first parliamentary question was to ask the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he would have a letter box erected at Clondrohid creamery, County Cork. The reply told him that the provision of a letter box at the place in question was not warranted in view of its proximity to the local post office. Undeterred, Donal Creed came back shortly afterwards asking for two phone boxes. Having delivered two seats for Fine Gael in Cork North-West, he was made Minister of State in the Department of Health in June 1981. I remember that period well as I was a student then; it speaks to my commitment to stability in the House in these times. There were three elections in the space of 18 months. His stint in health came to an end because of that high degree of political volatility and instability. However, he did come back in late 1982 and was appointed as Minister of State in the Department of Education with responsibility for sport. Being a Cork man, that appointment was probably the most natural fit and the most appropriate appointment one could make, given Cork's prowess on the sporting fields.

They have great modesty, too.

I know that Donal took to it with great enthusiasm. I know from my own family background that he enjoyed having many engagements with sports people and was very generous in his time with former sports people as well. Of course, his key legacy was his work in laying the groundwork for the national lottery, which has had a huge impact in communities throughout the country, particularly sporting communities, in terms of improved facilities.

It is interesting, looking at the issues he raised early on in his political career, that some of them are as pertinent today as they were then. One of his final contributions in this House was to make the case for the pay and conditions of members of the Defence Forces.

He said, "We pay tribute to them but it is important that the issue of pay and conditions is resolved."

Donal was an outstanding family man. He had more than two dozen grandchildren, and was clearly never happier than when play and joining in games and exploits with them. I believe he was reprimanded for sliding down the bannister on occasion, as well as other exploits. He was a true public servant but he was a gentleman and a very warm person. While he was a dedicated Fine Gael man, he was popular across the House and was always very approachable and pragmatic. If he could do something for somebody he would do it. He helped anyone who approached him. He was particularly proud that his son, Michael, won the Dáil seat following his retirement, and was more proud again when Michael was appointed as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Donal loved that area and worked so hard to improve it.

On behalf of our party, I wish to extend our sympathies to his wife, Madeleine, his daughters, Marcella, Michelle, Madeleine, Suzanne and Louise and, of course, to our colleague, Michael. We also remember his infant daughter, Nuala, and his eldest daughter, Claire, who predeceased him. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Ar mo shon féin agus ar son Shinn Féin ba mhaith liom comhbhrón a dhéanamh le clann agus cáirde an iar-Theachta Donal Creed a fuair bás i Mí na Samhna 2017. On my behalf and on behalf of Sinn Féin, I would like to extend sincere sympathies to the family and friends of former Teachta Donal Creed, who passed away in November 2017. I believe Deputy Micheál Martin made reference to 2,000 grandchildren, which caused a bit of alarm of these benches. Perhaps he meant two dozen. I salute not only Donal's political prowess but his wonderful tribe of a family from the rebel county.

Bhí gairm fada ag Donal in oifig phoiblí agus táim cinnte go bhfuil a muintir an-bhródúil as sin. Donal had a very distinguished career as a public representative, serving in this House from 1965 to 1989, representing the fine people of mid-Cork and Cork North-West. He was among the first Irish Members of the European Parliament, from 1973 to 1977, and served as a Minister of State in various Departments for a total of five years under the then Taoiseach, Garret FitzGerald.

I did not know Donal and I never met him, but the mother of one of our members of staff did. He wished for me, on his behalf and on behalf of his mother and family, to let it be known that they will forever be indebted to Donal for assistance that was given to them more than 30 years ago. That, more than anything, is the mark of not just a great public representative but a great person. He was accessible and humble, and was a true servant of the people.

I join with everybody in extending our sympathy and condolences to Madeleine, her family and friends, and of course to our colleague, Michael. I am absolutely certain that his father is immensely proud of his service as a member of Cabinet. I also extend sympathies to all of Donal's colleagues in Fine Gael. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

On my behalf and on behalf of the parliamentary Labour Party, I join with the Ceann Comhairle and other speakers in expressing our heartfelt condolences to the family of the late Donal Creed and acknowledge the remarkable contribution he made over such a long and distinguished parliamentary career. He was elected in 1965 and served until 1989. In fact, the latter part of his service overlapped with my entering this House; I arrived here in 1987, and I remember Donal well. I remember the election of his son even more clearly, as well as the contribution Michael has made subsequently.

Before being elected in 1965 Donal unsuccessfully contested a by-election caused some months earlier by the death of the Labour Deputy, Dan Desmond. In that by-election Eileen Desmond was elected who, remarkably, became only the second woman in modern times to become a Cabinet Minister. That did not happen all that long ago; remarkable changes have happened in the period since then.

Donal served as one of the nominated Members of the European Parliament in the early days, from 1973 to 1977, at a time when this House selected those who would go. It was the embryonic stage of a democratic assembly on a cross-European basis. It was exciting, because it was the antidote to a century of division and war, and is something we should reflect upon in the context of what is happening in Europe now.

Others have mentioned Donal's achievements in this House. A remarkable job was created for him; he was Minister of State for with responsibility for school buildings and sport between 1982 and 1986. That would be a great job to have. One can imagine going around the country opening schools and dealing with sport. I cannot imagine a greater and more serendipitous combination to have. As Deputy Micheál Martin would say, a Cork native would have revelled in that role.

To be selected as chair of one's parliamentary party is also a unique achievement. The skill set involved with that, dealing with various factions with various views, entails patience, wisdom, discernment and political judgment. It involves holding things together, defusing potential rows and making sure that people do not jump overboard. Delicate balancing is required and Donal's selection by his colleagues to that role bears great testament to that set of skills he obviously had.

I pay tribute to his son, who picked up the baton and continues to serve with distinction in this House, and to say to Madeleine and the extended Creed family that they can all be very proud of the contribution Donal made to this country and to the constituencies he represented with in Cork. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

On behalf of the Rural Independent Group, I am very glad to remember the great Donal Creed, who passed away on 23 November 2017. It is fair to mention two Ps when talking about Donal, namely, potatoes and politics. I do not know which he would have put in the higher category but everybody who knew of him knew of his love for farming and for vegetables and the great pride he had in potatoes. He was competitive with other family members and other neighbours on both sides of the border when it came to producing what he classified as the best potatoes that any farmer could grow. It is important to remember that. It is always nice to see people who are grounded and down to earth in politics. Donal certainly was, because he had great interest in what came out of the earth.

On a light-hearted note, every person who wins the lotto can always say, when banking the money, that if it was not for Donal Creed he or she might not have won the money at all. On a day when someone has received €175 million in the EuroMillions lottery, it should be remembered that there was a man here in Ireland who set up our own lottery. Charitable organisations have gained much from that. He was politically very astute and ahead of his time. It is nice to remember that.

On a local note, I would like to remember a very sad event for the people of Ireland, particularly those in Cork and Kerry.

The Whiddy Island disaster occurred when he was chairman of Cork County Council. It took a safe pair of political of hands to handle that sensitive situation and that awful tragedy and its aftermath. He was remarkably intelligent and astute in the way he carried out the role of chairman of the council. There were major demands on him at that time and he had to deal with that awful tragedy. He did so in the very experienced political way that only he could do. It is nice to remember things like that.

On behalf of the Rural Independent Group, I acknowledge his political legacy. He was a person who started out with nothing and progressed to being a good county councillor, Deputy, MEP and Minister of State. He was able to leave political office after giving such broad service. I would place as much significance on being a good county councillor as being a good Minister of State. His son has finished up as a senior Minister sitting at the Cabinet table. From where he is resting today, he can rest sure in the knowledge that he and his wife Madeleine and their family made an extraordinary contribution to Irish life and Irish politics. That contribution will never be forgotten and no one can ever take that from any of them. I think that is a nice thing. There are 25 grandchildren, and perhaps there will be many more in the years ahead. They will always remember their granddad and everything he did in a nice and fond way. That is nice to acknowledge, and everyone in the House will acknowledge it.

I join previous speakers in acknowledging Donal Creed and paying tribute to his political career and his political achievements over a varied career at local, national and European levels as well as serving as a Minister of State. His lasting legacy politically is the national lottery.

When he was Minister of State at the Department of Education during the mid-1980s he was instrumental in advancing scholarships for people involved in sports. These scholarships operated in the US, in particular, and were for basketball, golf and other sports. He did pioneering work at the time and it has stood the test of time in the sense of people benefitting from it.

While on paper we were political foes, Donal encompassed and gave what was best about Irish politics. Donal Creed tried every day that he was in politics to advance the case of the people of Cork Mid or Cork North-West to ensure they were better off from his public representation.

While I never served with Donal Creed, I remember a meeting in May 1997 as I was embarking on a canvass of Ballydaly. I met Donal as we set off for Caherbarnagh. He said he would go the low road and suggested I go the higher road. That ended up in a different way for me because I married someone from the high road later on in life. I remember what he said to me at the foot of the Caherbarnagh Mountain that day. We were talking about politics and he gave me every encouragement. While Donal told me it was a difficult life and spoke of the drawbacks of it, he also said to me that there was great achievement in helping our fellow man. That was exactly the phrase Donal Creed used that day. I think that is what he wanted to achieve. He wanted to benefit mankind and to help people. Everyone who knew Donal Creed would have stories to tell in that light.

His political astuteness, which was rare, has not fallen far from the tree with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Michael Creed, and the way he conducts his business. Like his father, he does not rush to the limelight but he is still very effective in it.

I sympathise with Donal's wife Madeleine and his daughters Marcella, Michelle, Madeleine, Suzanne and Louise. I wish to remember Nuala and Claire, who died only a few weeks before Donal. I would like to take this opportunity to thank his son, Michael, for his friendship in this House and for his kind words to me last April.

Ar an gcéad dul síos ba mhaith liom fáilte a chur roimh mhuintir Creed. Tá an-chuid ráite mar gheall ar an iar-Theachta Donal Creed agus cuirim go mór leis sin mar aithnimid go léir gur dianoibrí a bhí ann a bhí ag obair go dian dícheallach ar son mhuintir a dúiche ar fad gach lá. Bhí ardmheas air i gcónaí sa cheantar agus lasmuigh agus bhí sé sin i gcónaí le feiceáil nuair a bhuail mé le daoine, bhí sé le feiceáil sna clinicí de réir dealramh agus bhí sé le feiceáil sa vóta go bhfuair sé. Bhí sé i gcónaí ag obair go dian dícheallach sa chomhairle, sa Dáil, san Eoraip agus gan dabht mar Aire Stáit. Chuir sé go mór le muintir na háite agus leis an gceantar.

I acknowledge the significant role played by Donal Creed over many years in Cork Mid and Cork North-West. I pay tribute also to the significant role he played on Cork County Council over many years. Our families would have clashed at election time but would have worked throughout the same community over many years. While we would have appeared to have been political opponents, there would have always been the same push to make things happen locally. Donal really pushed the community forwards, and I always heard that when meeting his supporters or opponents. It would always be said that he was such a gentleman and a person to push things on for the wider Cork Mid and Cork North-West areas. It is something to be very proud of and something that will always be associated with him. This would have been in evidence in the clinics as well, where there would have been such a range of colours presenting. He would never have distinguished one way or the other. He saw it as his duty to serve whoever came his way and to make every effort.

I would have only occasionally met Donal. Typically, it would have occurred on the campaigns. The first time I came across him was during one of my earlier council campaigns. Mickey Tom and myself were finishing up canvassing on a sunny evening. We had done what we set out to do in terms of canvassing. As we were going down a driveway Donal was ahead of us. There would have been a relaxed atmosphere given the sun and so we stopped for a quick chat. The quick chat extended into something longer. Mickey Tom and I knew that we were holding him up and he knew he was holding us up from canvassing. I am pretty sure he was getting better value from it because he was holding up the candidate and stopping the canvass for the evening.

He was a real gentleman responsible for major achievements. Today people woke up to hear about a big lotto win and it is fitting that the person who was so instrumental in making the lotto a reality would be acknowledged today.

Ba mhaith liom cur le gach rud atá ráite cheana féin mar gheall ar an iar-Theachta Donal Creed agus ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Ba mhaith liom comhbhrón a ghabháil le teaghlach an iar-Theachta Donal Creed. Thar tréimhse fada bhain sé éacht amach ar son mhuintir Corcaigh Lár agus Corcaigh Thiar-Thuaidh sna rólanna éagsúla a bhí aige.

I express my sympathies to the family of Donal Creed. Cork, like any other part of the country, has many families who have a long history in politics and people who are known as major public figures. We have the Desmonds, the Barrys and the Coveneys. One of the foremost names would be the Creeds. They have a history and lineage going back right to the foundation of the State. A large part of that was Donal's contribution.

This was before my time but I would have often heard reference to the area surrounding Macroom as Creed country. I am sure that the Moynihans might dispute that but I am sure that Michael will attempt to reinforce that. Donal's track record over so many years enforced the strength and popularity he had on the ground with his service on Cork County Council and in the European Parliament. In the Dáil, his contribution to the national lottery and the various Departments has already been outlined. His enduring popularity was clear evidence of his decency, his ordinary common touch with people and his being a gentleman. I express my sympathies to Madeleine, to Michael - I am sure he was very proud of all his many achievements - to Marcella, Suzanne, Louise, Michelle, Madeleine, who I know from Cork County Council and an excellent public servant in her own right, and Claire and Nuala who predeceased Donal. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis agus mo chomhbhrón leis an teaghlach uile.

As a Tánaiste from Cork, I thought it was appropriate to say a few words and, of course, to offer my sympathy to Donal Creed's family, many of whom I know very well. I also wish to honour him today because that is what this is really about. Not many of us in this House can represent constituents for almost a quarter of a century. That is what Donal Creed did in two different constituencies. Very few people in this House will have fought eight general elections and won each of them. Very few of us in this House have the privilege of getting to the very top of local electoral politics, as he did when he was chair of Cork County Council, which believe me one does not achieve unless one is respected across-party as well as within one's own party, as well as having served here for 24 years, and also have been in the European Parliament in what were really the formation years of that parliament. Not surprisingly, he served on the agriculture committee there. As ever, he made an insightful contribution to EU political thinking on agricultural, as well as representing Ireland's interests. He was a Minister of State, in fact, on three occasions, through a very volatile period, as Deputy Micheál Martin referred to. I can remember that period as a child, because my own father won a seat, lost a seat, and won a seat again, over the space of three years. I can remember what that was like in a political family, to deal with such wins and losses.

He was a Minister of State for school buildings and sport, which has been referred to, and at the end of that period managed to get the Government to agree to setting up the national lottery, which was also referred to by a lot of people because it was a significant achievement. It was not easily done at the time and it took typical Creed steeliness and determination to insist on winning that argument, which he did. Virtually every town and parish across the country have benefitted from hundreds of millions of euro as a result of this.

He was also Minister of State for housing for a short period of time, and Minister of State for health in 1981, briefly. These are two pretty tough briefs now, housing and health, but these were no problem at the time to Donal Creed. He remains a much loved figure across Cork, partly because of the fact that he represented two constituencies at different times, but still, when one canvasses rural parts of Cork, people will talk and tell stories about Donal Creed coming into the farmyard, whether they are Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael people or something else-----

(Interruptions).

Okay Sinn Féin or Labour - given the day that is in it, I did not want to give the others too much recognition.

There are very few people in politics, particularly those in politics for 24 years, who leave politics with absolute respect and who still do not have anybody speaking badly about them. He was one of those unique figures. In many ways he was from the politics of a different time. He was rural, pragmatic but really ambitious for Cork and like all of the Creeds was insightful, really smart and really tough when he needed to be. That is a trait that we see now in his son, colleague and friend of mine in Cabinet at a tough time for the country, when it comes to agriculture and leadership in that crucial sector for our rural economy and indeed for our economy as a whole. Donal would be extraordinarily proud of the contribution that Michael is making at a time of potentially great peril for the agricultural industry and family farming across the country, given the links, concerns and vulnerabilities to Brexit.

Like the Taoiseach, I would like to quote Marcella, who spoke about her father at a very sad funeral and at a very sad period for that family, given that seven weeks earlier Claire had passed away in a very untimely way. She said of her father, first of all that he had a life well-lived. That is true and is reinforced from all statements here today. She also said, which really summed him up from everything that I have heard about him, that her father was always at heart a farmer, who loved both the land and nature but also took enormous pride in being elected by the people of Cork North-West to represent them in the Dáil from 1965 to 1989. In some ways that sums up who he was, which was an incredibly modest man who loved the land, walking the land and cultivating the land, particularly in his retirement with his children and grandchildren. He was also somebody who, quietly at times but very firmly, made a huge impact on public life. That is being recognised today.

I say to his family, to Madeleine, of course, but also to Marcella, Michelle, Madeleine, Suzanne and Louise, and of course, to Michael, that they have a lot to be proud of, as indeed does Fine Gael, in the contributions of the Creed family, but in particular of Donal.

There is an interesting political connection with my own family, in fact, because Michelle, Donal's daughter, nominated my father to stand for politics, and the late Claire nominated me at convention as well. The connections between the Creeds and the Coveneys, politically, have been strong and have been personal and that is why I am so pleased to honour an extraordinary individual this morning.

I thank the House and all of the previous speakers for the very kind tributes they have paid to my late father. My father was quintessentially a quiet and shy man and I am sure he listened with great interest to all of the contributions and pinched himself on more than one occasion, on hearing the tributes that have been paid to him.

My father was hugely conscious of the honour that was bestowed upon him by the people, originally of Mid-Cork, and subsequently of Cork North-West. He never failed to understand the critical connection between being a public representative and the public. That is a message that he conveyed strongly to myself and one that is understood by all successful politicians in this House and elsewhere. It is inevitable that in the context of tributes in this House that they are invariably framed in the context of the public man, whether it was his time as a member of Cork County Council, which he hugely appreciated and enjoyed, as a Member of this House, as a Member of the European Parliament or, dare I say, even his membership of Fine Gael, which was a lifelong membership which he truly treasured. None of those aforementioned defined him in itself. He was, like all of us, multidimensional.

However, it is invariably the case that when we are described in the context of our membership, the public's consumption of it is very much one dimensional.

Like all of us, who my father was very much defined by where he came from. In that context, Carrigaphooca and Codrum were very much who my father was. He has been described as a son of the soil and someone who was interested in farming and agricultural matters. That is very much who he was and he carried that love, affection, commitment, understanding and dedication into public life in which I think he made not an insignificant contribution.

For my mother and sisters and, to my father's huge enjoyment, his grandchildren, some of whom are here, the man we miss is the family man - the father, son, brother, uncle and grandfather. In particular, his role as a grandfather brought him tremendous joy and satisfaction in his declining years. I thank all of my colleagues for the very kind tributes they have paid to him.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Members rose.