Before calling on the Leader, I wish to refer to the sad death of Mr. James Tully, a former Minister for Defence and Minister for Local Government and, in accordance with the practice of the House as agreed by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, I will call on the Leader of the House to formally move the motion of sympathy. I intend calling one Member from each group to formally support that motion.
Death of Former Minister. - Expression of Sympathy.
On behalf of the House and the Fianna Fáil Party, I wish to extend sympathy to the family of the late James Tully who held, with distinction, the posts of Minister for Local Government and Minister for Defence. May he rest in peace.
On behalf of the Fine Gael Party I extend to the family of the late Mr. James Tully and to the Labour Party our sympathy on the death of a man who was a fine parliamentarian and a very fine public representative.
I will have to go on a little further and put on record the side of James Tully I knew. I would like to extend sympathy to his family. I think most of those who served with him in the Dáil on all sides of the Chamber will admit that he made a wonderful contribution to the Dáil.
I would like to mention in particular his contribution when the late Séan Dunne asked him to work on behalf of the rural workers — farm labourers, market gardeners, local, government employees, etc. He often had to work very late into the night as well as dealing with his Dáil business. The matters that Jimmy Tully devoted himself to over years involved him in travelling great distances to settle very small problems and then returning to the Dáil to do his business. When Jimmy was serving in the Dáil as a backbencher he sat hour after hour through all the Estimates and examined every one of them on behalf of the public. He was a great servant of the public.
When he was Minister for Local Government there were arguments about the corruption going on at local level. Jimmy Tully established An Bord Pleanála. He took planning out of the political arena. He was confident that was the correct thing to do in order to prevent corruption. In his Bill reforming local government he introduced tremendous changes.
The number of houses that Jimmy Tully caused to be erected, stand on record as being the greatest number in the history of any period of local government. It is not generally known but for about 30 years the urban councils had not permission to build houses. However, when Jimmy Tully became Minister for Local Government he introduced an Act which allowed the local government people to start building houses again. What has happened to that since is not Jimmy Tully's fault. May the Lord have mercy on his soul.
When Jimmy Tully became Minister for Defence he saw the two sides, because at one time he had been a soldier on duty outside Leinster House. He served in the Fifth Battalion. It was nice to see him becoming Minister for Defence, and did a very good job in that post also.
Admittedly, he was a very strong law and order man, but we needed that on occasions. He was ebullient, but his courage and his compassion were evident at all times. When you think of a person who can be elected annually on 14 occasions as chairman of a political party, he must have had a lot going for him. Having regard to all his other good attributes, it must go on record that Jimmy Tully was one of the best public servants even in the Houses of the Oireachtas.
I wish just to extend my sympathy to the family and to the party also. There may have been differences of opinion about some of his decisions in the planning and constituency boundaries area, but it cannot be taken from him that he was a hardworking public representative and a diligent constituency worker who gave himself generously to Irish public life.
On behalf of the Progressive Democrats I would like to extend our sympathy to the Tully family and to the Labour Party on the death of Mr. Tully. He was a very committed public representative and did his best to fulfil all the tasks and duties required of him.
Members rose in their places.