It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of a former Deputy, Senator and Lord Mayor of Dublin, our former Senator, Joe Doyle, who passed away on 8 August 2009. I wish to express my sincere condolences on behalf of the House to his much loved wife Peggy and his three children, David, Michael and Róisín.
Joe's career as a public representative spanned four decades, from when he was first elected to Dublin City Council in 1979, where he continued to serve until 2004. One of his proudest moments was when he was elected Lord Mayor of Dublin, the city he loved so much, in July 1998 with the support of the Fianna Fáil group on the council at the time. During his time in office, he conferred the freedom of the city on another famous Dub, Gay Byrne. Joe was first elected to the Dáil in February 1982, on his third attempt, with running mate Dr. Garret FitzGerald, where he served until 1987 when he was elected to the Seanad. He was re-elected to Dáil Éireann in 1989, where he continued to serve until 1992, when he returned to the Seanad to serve a further two terms.
Joe was an outstanding public representative as we all know. He was an excellent parliamentarian who will be sadly missed by the constituents of Dublin South-East and, in particular, the parishioners of Donnybrook, whom he represented so well in the Dáil, the Seanad and on Dublin City Council. He was, without doubt, a dedicated public servant, a man who never looked for any recognition but who was, without doubt, deserving of it. He spent his whole life, which was underpinned by his great faith, in the service of others. Joe lived all his life in the parish of Donnybrook. He was baptised in the Sacred Heart Church in Donnybrook, was married in that church and served as a sacristan there for 29 years. He only gave up his job when he became a Deputy in 1982. He was also a member of the Dublin Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes for over 50 years, for which he was awarded a medal by the diocese. Such was his faith and his love of Lourdes, that he and his wife Peggy celebrated a very special wedding anniversary there before his death.
Throughout his life, Joe was also a wonderful advocate for people with epilepsy and used every opportunity to raise awareness of this condition. For many years he was Ireland's best known champion of the cause of epilepsy and was always keen to speak publicly about the condition he developed at the age of 16 years. During his time as Lord Mayor of Dublin, he hosted official functions in the Mansion House for Brainwave and was a member of the group's board of directors for more than 20 years, where he served the cause of epilepsy with as much dedication as he served his fellow parishioners and constituents in Dublin South-East.
On my behalf and on behalf of Fianna Fáil colleagues in Seanad Éireann, I offer our sincere condolences to Joe's wife Peggy, his sons David and Michael, his daughter Róisín, his grandchildren, his sisters Maeve and Rita and his extended family and friends at this sad time.
I had the great pleasure of serving in this House with Joe for the 12 years he was a Member here. I was a close personal friend of his and his wife, Peggy, for all of those years. He was a true gentleman, a wonderful husband, a great father and a proud grandad. He was a hard working and decent public representative. He was a man of great honour and integrity. Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam.