Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

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.

I welcome the family of the late Deputy, Senator and Lord Mayor of Dublin, Joe Doyle. I welcome, in particular, his wife, Peggy; his daughter, Róisín; and his son, Michael. Our thoughts are with David in Singapore. I also welcome members of the extended families of Joe and Peggy. No doubt Joe is looking down with a wry smile at these proceedings.

Joe was an excellent parliamentarian, an outstanding public representative and a man of deep conviction, faith and integrity. He was a wonderful family man. He served his constituents as a member of Dublin City Council with real devotion and hard work for 25 years. He listened to everybody who came to see him in his clinics and worked as hard as he could on every issue brought to his attention. He was a Member of the Dáil from 1982 until 1987 and a Member of this House from 1987 to 1989 and again from 1992 until 2002. This is a record of service which is unrivalled and of which Joe's family, friends and supporters can be truly proud.

Outside political life, as Senator Cassidy said, Joe served his parish as clerk at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook for almost 30 years, a real centre of his and his family's life.

I knew Joe very well. From the first moment I met him, I found him to be an absolute gentleman. In all my dealings with him he was a complete gentleman, totally committed to Fine Gael, a man of values and conviction and very hard working and consistent. I have no doubt that his convictions and faith and the support of his family enabled him to deal with the ups and downs of political life. The constituency of Dublin South-East is volatile, one in which there have been plenty of ups and downs, but Joe survived and thrived and went on to continue to serve the people of Dublin South-East. One of the reasons he was able to do this was he was a politician who always took the long view and his vision helped him in that regard, as was evident during his time as Lord Mayor of Dublin, which honour came to him unexpectedly — I think Peggy will agree — but it was one of the honours of his life. He loved the job which he really enjoyed; he brought many people to the Mansion House and was extremely honoured to have been elected to the position. It was one of the highlights of his political career.

During his time inside and outside the Oireachtas Joe worked very hard at raising awareness of epilepsy. He was a man who embraced hard work which was very evident in his personal efforts when he went to study at night in UCD. Many Members of the House will also fondly remember his love of the horses and dogs. He certainly got great enjoyment from his pastimes and interests and was an enthusiastic member of the Oireachtas racing syndicate.

To his wife, Peggy; his children, David, Michael and Róisín; his wider circle of family and friends, many of whom join us today, I formally extend my most sincere sympathy on their great loss. I know that Joe's faith and their own will have sustained them during the past year and will sustain them into the future. It is difficult to believe he is not with us today. I thank his family for sharing him with the constituency of Dublin South-East, this and the other House and the country. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

I speak on behalf of Members on the Independent benches who wish to be associated with all that has been said in tribute to the late Joe Doyle with whom I served in the Seanad. He was a Member of the other House for a brief period from 1987 and left the Seanad in 2002. At all times I found him to be a generous, open and humorous man. He was a great man to make a cutting comment out of the side of his mouth because he was never quite sure about what Independent Members should do, whether they should join a party or go about their business and leave matters to real politicians. He had extraordinary passion, of which I am sure his family are aware. The best politicians are the ones with conviction and passion, whatever the issues of the day. He had that passion for his area and the city. I recall a time when the Dodder flooded and he was so upset at the damage caused by the flooding to people's property in the area in which he lived. He was their representative; he was part of and suffered with them. He was a gorgeous man in that regard. He was a man of conviction and devoted to his church. As mentioned, Lourdes was always on the agenda; it was his other home, as he was always trotting over and back, but his real commitment was to his people.

Joe raised health issues and, in particular, awareness of epilepsy, a condition which used to be hidden. A lot has happened since in that regard. While Joe was a Member of the Oireachtas the issue was dealt with in a much more open way and received public recognition. He deserves credit for being part of that movement.

Joe was honest, diligent, humorous and gentle. He said many times in the House that he had been a Deputy, a Senator and a member of the city council but that the pinnacle of his political career was being elected Lord Mayor of his city. That is important in this day and age when local politics is often demeaned. He carried that sense of being a true democrat, a true representative.

I echo the sentiments expressed by Senator Fitzgerald and share in what will be said by other speakers. We thank his family for being supportive of him and enabling him take on the very important role in politics of representing the people of his area. Without that commitment, without people like him, politics would die a death and be all the poorer. At the time of his death one of the local priests commented that he had had no enemies. It struck me that this was a beautiful, personable and attractive epitaph for anybody to be given and that it had been truly well earned.

Joe's dark side was mentioned by Senator Fitzgerald — he was a horse racing enthusiast. He was a member of the syndicate which owned the highly successful Arctic Copper. As soon as he saw that the horse had run its race, he walked away from the syndicate and said, "You can have the rest of it, lads." I think they had no luck after that.

This is a day on which we thank Joe's family for sharing a lovely man with us. He was a man of conviction and passionate about his work, politics and party. We say goodbye him today. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam. Duine den scoth. I echo the words of Senator Fitzgerald: he was a true blue, with Fine Gael blood flowing through his veins and he never moved from that side. He is man of whom his family can be proud. It was a privilege for us to have known and worked with him.

On behalf of the Labour Party, I join others in paying tribute to the late Joe Doyle, a former Deputy and Senator. I note the presence of members of his family. I convey my sympathy to the Fine Gael Party on the loss of a truly great representative. He was a local representative, a Member of the Oireachtas and Lord Mayor of Dublin.

As I am a latecomer to this business, I did not know Joe as a politician. However, I knew him in a previous life when I worked in RTE and have two memories of him. He gave an interview on the subject of epilepsy — it may have been one of the first key interviews he gave. If I am not mistaken, he took part in a lengthy interview with Gay Byrne. I am not sure if I was involved in programme, but as others have said, it was a groundbreaking interview in which he spoke about and helped to demystify the subject of epilepsy. He is owed a huge debt in that regard.

The second memory of him is his involvement with a programme with which I was involved. He was closely involved in the programme but did not appear on the programme. It was the morning after his election in the general election in 1989. On one telephone line we had Garret FitzGerald and on the other line we had a certain Michael McDowell, who had just lost his seat to Joe Doyle. It was an interesting moment because in the course of the general election, Garret FitzGerald had been extraordinarily generous to Joe Doyle. He urged supporters not to vote for him but to vote for Joe Doyle, something other politicians have done with varying degrees of success. The tactic succeeded on that occasion and a former close confidant of Garret FitzGerald, Michael McDowell, lost his seat. The interview amounted to the former Taoiseach saying this was nothing personal, just business. It was a wonderful moment.

Joe Doyle was an extraordinary gentlemen. That was my lasting memory on the one or two occasions I met him. He was a real Dubliner with a great sense of the city and where he was from. Joe Doyle will feature when we look back on the past 30 years of change. Regarding the debate on contraception and divorce, he took a very strong position. One quotation from him resonates today with regard to the debate we have had in this House over the past ten days. He appealed for generosity from those would never want a divorce towards those who were not so lucky because "life is difficult and stubborn and does not work out as people planned". That is an extraordinarily generous statement about politics and what politics is about. We can have convictions and consciences but the greater calling and demand of politics and democracy is that we have a country that is a warm place for all its citizens. His contribution to public life went a long way with others to ensure Ireland became a warmer place for many people.

On behalf of the Green Party, An Comhaontas Glas, I wish to be associated with these expressions of sympathy on the death of the former Senator, Deputy and Lord Mayor of Dublin, Joe Doyle. His period of the time in the Houses of the Oireachtas ended as mine began but I recall his period as Lord Mayor of Dublin, which seemed to be the pinnacle of his career and a period he enjoyed greatly. I also remember the 1989 election, where there was a Fine Gael strategy to win two seats in the Dublin South-East constituency. This almost came unstuck in that Joe Doyle was comfortably elected and the fourth seat was won by Garret FitzGerald. Fifth place went not to Michael McDowell of the Progressive Democrats but to John Gormley of the Green Party, to whom Garret FitzGerald almost lost his seat. Joe Doyle also played a role in slowing down the progress of the Green Party in Ireland.

Was he not right?

From Green Party councillors in Dublin City Council, constituency colleagues in Dublin South-East and regular contact at public events, I know there was fondness for Joe Doyle and his passing was mourned by many in the area. His achievements and what he stood for have been well commented on and I only wish to be associated on a personal level with the marking of that contribution. He epitomised a traditional Fine Gael viewpoint and I understand how that party, in particular, mourned his passing.

I join in the welcome to Peggy, Michael and Róisín and to send our good wishes, as Senator Fitzgerald said, to David in Singapore. I welcome the extended Maguire family, all of Joe's in-laws. Joe's wife, Peggy, is a native of my area. She is a near neighbour of mine at home and in our area we took great pride in Joe's lifetime of achievements. We took as much pride as the people of Donnybrook and we followed his career with a similar level of interest. Joe was a regular visitor to events in our area and his friendly nature made him known to all of us and the extended area. He was known to people of all traditions and all parties. He holidayed in the area regularly. I am privileged to be here and to be associated with these remarks.

He was a councillor, Senator, Deputy and Lord Mayor of Dublin city. That is some chronicle of achievement on a career level. The pinnacle of his achievements and the success he took most personal pride in was becoming Lord Mayor of the capital city. This was an enormous achievement and he was very proud of it. Along with my wife and family, I had the great privilege of being a guest of Joe and Peggy in the Mansion House. On the day in question, we were slightly embarrassed because our child was fascinated by the cat and spent the entire visit chasing around the room after it. We were slightly embarrassed with the breach of protocol in the Mansion House but the Doyle family did not have a problem. He had a wonderful record of achievement.

He would want to be remembered for, and I would prefer to address, something very different. He should be remembered for his personal qualities and it is from this we should draw inspiration. He was a gentleman by nature, he had a lovely, friendly demeanour and was an accessible person at ease with people. He was one of nature's gentlemen and that is not a cliché or a trite remark. He was an absolute gentleman with a friendly demeanour and was extremely sincere and impeccably honest. One could never doubt his sincerity.

He was a man of sound values and had firm beliefs that he lived out in his life. He was a man of deep conviction and sound values. He had great commitment to his family and his community. He was a spiritual and a religious man. Lourdes was his second home.

As a Cavan person, where his wife is from and where he spent so much time, we are proud of his memory and proud of his achievements. I am very happy on behalf of the community of Cavan to associate myself with the sympathy and to pass our sympathies to Peggy and the family. He was one of nature's gentlemen and we are the poorer for his passing but we will not be poorer if we learn and live according to the life. Ar dheis Dé go a raibh a anam dílis.

I could see Joe Doyle chuckling when he was credited with slowing down the progress of the Green Party. I say that in jest. Joe was a real Dubliner, a gentleman and a friend. He was elected to Dublin City Council in 1979, the same year I was elected to Waterford City Council. The highlight of his career was being the first citizen of the city he loved so well, our capital city. Joe was a man of deep faith, a true Christian and the sacristan at his parish Church of the Sacred Heart. He knew everyone in Donnybrook and around his constituency on a first name basis. That is the sign of a true politician. I shared many hours of entertainment with him on his Seanad campaigns in Waterford with his friend, the former Deputy and Senator, Dick Dowling. We shared a love of horses and having an occasional bet and we certainly enjoyed one another's company on many occasions. I extend my sincere sympathy to Peggy and all the family. Today is an occasion on which Members celebrate the life of Mr. Joe Doyle, a man who gave so much to his community and to his people.

I am pleased to have an opportunity to say a few words in tribute to my former friend and colleague, Mr. Joe Doyle. I had the privilege of serving in both Houses with Joe and my relationship with him was a little deeper than the normal political relationship, in that we both shared political careers and an office for quite a number of years. During the first Seanad in which I served, from 1987 to 1989, Joe, a few colleagues and I had offices outside the main complex of Leinster House at the fashionable Dublin address of 89 Merrion Street, which certainly impressed my rural neighbours and friends. In that suite of offices, which we shared with the then Deputy Brendan McGahon, the then Leas-Chathaoirleach of the Seanad, Charles McDonald, who had a working fireplace in his office, as well as new Senators such as the then Senators Gerry Reynolds and Phil Hogan, we spent many enjoyable hours and days.

Joe took his politics very seriously. He did so with a smile but he was a man of deep conviction and profound ability. The first piece of political advice and education that I saw and heard from Joe was with regard to the twice-weekly clinic he operated from 89 Merrion Street. For my first few weeks there, I could not understand the reason a succession of citizens of Dublin were calling to our office but they were calling to meet Joe. While Joe represented a constituency that he shared with people of greater national renown and publicity, I always got the impression that he was the man in the constituency who did the work. This was proven in 1989, when he was re-elected to Dáil Éireann on the strength of his constituency work, as well as his love of his people, his city and his constituency. He knew every square inch of that constituency, from Donnybrook to Ringsend and to Pearse Street, and felt equally at home in each part of it. This summed him up, as he genuinely was a man for all political seasons.

He was a man with a great depth of interests. Mention has been made of his sporting involvement in horses and greyhounds but he also enjoyed a sport that was a minority interest in this House, namely, cricket. I recall that when the then Taoiseach, John Bruton, hosted a visit to Dublin by the then British Prime Minister, John Major, in 1995 or 1996, he brought Mr. Major to Doheny and Nesbitt's for a post-meeting drink. There was Joe, who had been lined up to discuss cricket with the Prime Minister, because he probably was the only member of the Fine Gael Party who could have a rational discussion on cricket.

He also had a wide range of friends in Leinster House. While everyone knows of his friends in Fine Gael, he had a very deep friendship with Members' former colleague in the other House, the late Tony Gregory. Moreover, Joe's admiration for Tony was reciprocated fully. He also had a great friend in Fine Gael's new Front Bench colleague, Deputy Andrew Doyle, and they travelled to many health board meetings together. He built up all those relationships because of the depth of his character and because of the strength of his political soul. He was a genuinely unique person and I always will recall vividly the Monday in June 1998 when he rang me at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. to let me know that as a result of a bizarre political fluke and breakdown in other parties' negotiations, he was about to become Lord Mayor of Dublin. I could literally feel the excitement down the telephone line because the honour of being first citizen of the city he loved so deeply was about to be bestowed on him. Moreover, he carried out his duties in a magnificent fashion.

I have all these pleasant memories of Joe and Members have given an account in the Chamber of his political philosophy, his deep Christianity and his belief in the philosophy of live and let live. He was an outstanding ambassador for Fine Gael in both the city and the country and its members deeply and fondly remember him. While I apologise for drifting on a little, I will provide a final anecdote. Mention was made of the 1989 election when Joe and Garret FitzGerald won, perhaps against the odds, two out of four seats. Joe told the story with great relish of an evening two or three days before the general election when, while he was out canvassing and knocking on doors in a very committed fashion, a black former State car suddenly screeched to a halt beside him. It was Garret FitzGerald, who exited breathlessly from the car to tell Joe that he had conducted an opinion poll and that Joe had been elected on the fourth count. Although the election was still two days away, it looked as though the election could be called off and they all went off to have a nice drink.

I am proud to have had this opportunity to pay tribute to him and am proud that we shared offices together. He will be long remembered in this party. May he rest in peace.

I also wish to be associated with the warm and genuine tribute to Joe. He was a great Donnybrook man and quintessential Dubliner with whom I served in this House from 1997 to 2002. He always sat in the outer chair in the front row of the Fine Gael benches and the then Senator Maurice Manning referred to him reverentially as the chancellor. Consequently, that seat became known as the chancellor's seat as it was where Joe always sat. As has been stated earlier, Joe had no enemies and I believe this is the reason he became Lord Mayor of Dublin, an office which he really prized and which probably was the pinnacle of his career. All Members have lovely stories about Joe about which they could go on but I will not do that. The point that summed him up is that he truly was a lovely man. To Peggy and all of his family, Members extend their sympathy. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

I join with my colleagues in expressing sympathy to Peggy, Róisín, Michael, David and the extended family. I got to know Joe pretty well over the years. As Senator Cummins mentioned, he was a lifelong great political friend of my neighbour and political mentor, Dick Dowling. They shared many interests, as well as sharing an office, for a long time. On my first day as a Senator after the 2002 Seanad election, the House was recalled early to pass the legislation to hold the referendum for the first Nice treaty. I was given a slot to speak at approximately 4 p.m., and as a result I missed my conferring ceremony in Waterford Institute of Technology, WIT. I drove down late and my family gave out to me for missing the entire ceremony. However, the institute allowed me to return to be conferred either the next day or the next week. While I did not know anyone else who was graduating, Jill and Peggy were present at the back of the room as their daughter was receiving her qualification from WIT on the same day. It is rather ironic that Members are paying tribute to Joe on the same day because although I have not pursued any studies in the meantime until recently, I am going to be awarded something today.

Joe is fondly remembered and the staff of Leinster House still have a great regard for Joe Doyle. Many of the secretarial staff within Fine Gael worked with Joe over the years and I spoke to a couple of them this morning over a cup of tea. They knew this tribute was planned and spoke with great fondness of the little events organised by Joe, Dick Dowling, Madeleine Taylor-Quinn, Bernard Durkan and Professor John Kelly. They were the first group of Oireachtas Members who took it upon themselves to bring their secretaries out to thank them for the efforts they put in on their behalf. Moreover, most of these secretaries are still here and they hold him in great affection. I remember the last time I met Joe was at the front door of Leinster House a few years ago. We had a discussion about his time in politics and how he was so delighted to end his political career in Leinster House as spokesperson on finance. He gave me a few tips because it was the position that I held at that particular juncture.

Senator Alex White mentioned the 1989 election in his contribution and I always will remember how Joe and Garret pulled off the great coup in Dublin South-East. I believe it was Joe who subsequently said it was the closest Garret had ever come in his political career to committing a sin, when he took such a relish in the defeat of the former leader of the Progressive Democrats in that election.

Joe was the quintessential Fine Gaeler. He represented a strain of Fine Gael in which I believe passionately. His legacy will remain strong in the party for many years. I extend to Peggy and her family my sincere sympathy on their sad loss.

Although Senator O'Toole has spoken on behalf of the Independent group, I request that I be allowed to speak because I am essentially from the same parish as the late Joe Doyle. I spent my childhood and young manhood in Dublin 4. I was an Anglican and Joe a Roman Catholic. He was very heavily involved in the Sacred Heart Church, which many of my neighbours attended. I went every week to St. Mary's Church at the junction of Anglesea Road and Simmonscourt Road when I was not singing in the choir at St. Bartholomew's Church. We shared that Dublin 4 background.

Joe was a very interesting person in the sense that he understood Dublin 4, a much misunderstood region of Dublin. While it is assumed it conforms to the stereotype associated with wealthy people on Ailesbury Road and media conspiracy, Joe knew it intimately because he represented it. Dublin 4 includes areas such as Ailesbury Road, but it also includes Dodder Cottages, Pembroke Cottages, Ringsend and Irishtown. Joe represented the entire complexion of the constituency with great honour and dignity.

I knew Joe for many years. I knew him when he was a member of the city council, Lord Mayor of Dublin and in the Seanad. I knew him, liked him, respected him and honoured him. He adhered to very high standards of general and political morality. He was a great Dubliner and also sacristan at the Sacred Heart Church in Donnybrook in which I attended the funeral of Brendan Behan, whom I knew slightly. Joe had been Brendan Behan's best man at his marriage and knew Brendan and Beatrice when they lived on Anglesea Road.

As a member of the Roman Catholic Church, Joe was a deep and devout believer, but he was able to separate this very clear commitment from his commitment to politics. He was able to make the separation between church and State. When he was working in the House, voting and campaigning, he remembered the people in his constituency who did not share the entirety of the Roman Catholic theological position on various contentious political issues. I refer, in particular, to various very divisive referenda. Joe was a man of conscience. As we have heard a lot about conscience in recent weeks, I will not comment on it, but Joe had a real political conscience. Although he was a good and religious man in good standing with his church, he held the line on these contentious issues. He found that he was representing the full and complex nature of his background and constituents. For this, in particular, I honour him. I wish we had more politics of the kind Joe espoused, although I am glad to say events in recent weeks have shown these standards are widespread, at least in Seanad Éireann. Nevertheless, in those early difficult days Joe behaved very honourably and I know he was abused for adopting this position. I not only knew, liked and honoured Joe, I also respected him.

I join in the tributes to former councillor, Deputy, Senator and Lord Mayor of Dublin, the late Joe Doyle. I did not know him personally but know from what my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Deputy Brendan Smith, Senator O'Reilly and other colleagues have said that he was an honest, decent, hard working and Christian man. He was obviously very astute in that he married a Cavan woman, Peggy Maguire. While I do not know Peggy, I know members of the Maguire family which is well respected in County Cavan. I join in the tributes to the late Joe Doyle. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.

I am privileged to have the opportunity to join my colleagues in saying a few words about the late Joe Doyle. I got to know him many years ago when we worked on the city council; I got to know him in this House also. When we were councillors, somebody referred to the election of the Lord Mayor of Dublin. When Joe was running for election, the Fianna Fáil group met and I was very privileged to be able to second a proposal to back him. The reasons given by all the members which I remember well were that he was straight up and fair, that he got on well with people and that there were no corners to him. In other words, he was the person to back.

I know Peggy Doyle. My father rang me one day and asked me to give Joe a vote in the Seanad elections. I could not understand how my father knew him. He said he was buying a lot of stuff from the Maguires and that they had asked him. I said it was okay. I met Joe afterwards.

Joe had a unique personality and took a keen interest in people and the community. There were four parish priests in Donaghmede where I lived and every one of them asked me whether I knew Joe Doyle. I discovered they had all worked in Donnybrook and they told me Joe ran the parish, not the parish priest.

Joe gave me a bit of advice one day. There was somebody arguing about something and he said to me that in our business one should not make enemies but friends.

Joe had a great hearty laugh. He had a few glasses of gin and tonic on occasion and would tell a yarn. His hearty laugh is still embedded in my mind.

Senator Norris mentioned conscience. Joe had the idea that one should not do the popular thing. One day there was a very contentious planning application from a developer and everybody was being lobbied thereon. The residents were lobbying against it. It was pretty rough and they were picketing outside City Hall saying "Joe Doyle out" and such comments. It emerged that a casting vote was required. Joe used his casting vote in favour of the application because he believed it was right to do so. That was how he operated. He asked me one day not to do what I perceived to be popular because it would backfire eventually and the people would see through it.

Somebody referred this morning to not going on holidays. I remember Joe talking about this. He told me he could not wait to get out of here and that the rest of the Senators thought the same only that they were trying to play politics. He said the public would not give them any credit for this and that everyone went on holidays, loved a drink and to get out of here for some rest.

With regard to the planning application to which I referred, it turned out that Joe had done the right thing. There is not a word about it now and everybody thinks the development in question is great.

These are a few of the memories I have about Joe. I extend my sympathy to Joe's family at this late stage. I come from the same part of the country and remember the Anglo Celt. Somebody asked me one day who Joe Doyle was on account of him being mentioned in it every week, more often than local politicians. Joe used to frequent and enjoy the area. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

I join in the tributes to the late Joe Doyle and express my deepest sympathy to his wife, Peggy, and family. I knew Joe very well. As has been said, he sat at the corner of the front row from 1997 to 2002. I knew him when he was in the Dáil and always admired him, as he was a decent and honourable man. May he rest in peace.

I did not know Joe Doyle in his political capacity as Senator, mayor or Deputy and I never got to know him personally, but I knew him from attending mass in Donnybrook when I lived in the area in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was always on duty in the church. I was never conscious of the priest being at the church door, since it was always Joe who was there. I never spoke with him, but he engaged with everyone he met. He had an extraordinary gift of connecting with and smiling at each person he met. It is no wonder he was a successful politician, given that human touch. Every time I saw him, my imagination ran wild because he was the one who stepped in at the last minute as best man at the wedding of Brendan and Beatrice Behan. I could never imagine how a wedding could be so chaotic as to require the sacristan to step in. In this sense, he was an exotic figure.

As a young person, I was conscious of him as being a real politician on the ground. He dealt with local issues and looked after everyone in the area. As the other side of the House did, I compliment Mrs. Peggy Doyle on the 100% support she gave her husband. He could not have done what he did with her total support. I thank the Cathaoirleach for giving me this opportunity.

I wish to add to the tributes to the late Joe Doyle. Long before I became a politician, I knew about Joe from my late uncle, who also lived in Donnybrook and was a good friend of Joe. I have a sneaking feeling that, when the election came, that is where the vote went, but we were never told about it. Subsequently, I got to know Joe as a politician. While I did not have many conversations with him in the Seanad, he and I used to meet and have conversations in the local bank that continued out onto the footpath. Our conversations sorted out many issues of the day. Joe had his views, but we were often in total agreement on how to solve a problem.

I knew Joe as a Donnybrook person. Joe was Donnybrook and Donnybrook was Joe, something that was reflected in how everyone in Donnybrook knew him. He was a good person and a great politician. As some Senators stated, he was able to interact with all of his constituents. Seeing him at work was lovely. He was a good church person who was devoted to his Sunday mass duties.

We have lovely memories of Joe. I miss him around the place, such as in the vegetable shop. I do not see Peggy in the shop anymore, but I hope to see her there again soon. I am glad of this opportunity to pay tribute to Joe and to extend my sympathy to Peggy and all his family. He was a lovely man in my eyes. My family in Donnybrook would say the same.

I pay tribute to Joe Doyle. I was his vice chairman on the eastern regional health authority, ERHA. He was an outstanding chairman who did considerable work in delivering health services to the greater Dublin region. He was the consummate politician and achieved everything in the political scene. He was a councillor, lord mayor, Deputy and Senator who held various positions and chairs and delivered services to the people of Dublin who he represented. He was an outstanding man and a great friend who I miss.

Peggy is a fantastic woman who supported Joe in everything he did. He and I used to meet at the various functions he chaired and officiated over. Seeing him doing the job he loved so well was great. He did a significant amount for epilepsy during his time on the ERHA. He should be remembered and congratulated in that regard. He made it clear he was an epileptic. My son suffered from that disease, so Joe and I used to chat about it often. However, he never allowed epilepsy to interfere with his work and was positive at all times.

I extend my sympathy to Peggy and her family. A great loss to us all, Joe was a good friend and a real gentleman. I am sorry we have lost him, but I am delighted to have had the pleasure of working with him.

I join with my colleagues in their expressions of sympathy on the death of Joe Doyle. I salute the good life he lived. It was my good fortune to enjoy his friendship and I have fond memories of him. I first got to know him following my election to Dublin Corporation in 1985. Even though we were on opposite political benches, he struck me during my early days as a warm, genuine and good man. As most Senators know, various appointments to authorities were made within a few days of the election. My good friend and colleague, Senator Butler, mentioned the ERHA, the predecessor of which was the eastern health board. Joe and I were appointed to that board in 1985. Following our membership of the corporation and the health board, Joe and I shared conversations three to four days per week. We shared many common interests. Joe influenced some of my decision making in my early days in politics.

Arising from his childhood, he had a devoted love for his late mother, who was widowed at a young age. He also had a deep faith, which reflected the life of my late father, a sacristan in our local church. Joe and I shared common themes. He would speak fondly of his childhood days in the cottages in Donnybrook. If I remember correctly, his mother's landlord was a Jewish man for whom Joe had the height of regard. Joe told me some great stories about that time in his life.

Joe gave a significant commitment to Dublin Corporation, the eastern health board, the ERHA and both Houses. In the passage of time, I also came to know his beautiful wife, Peggy, and had a great regard for the outstanding support she gave him and the manner in which he acknowledged it. He was an extraordinary, kind and compassionate man who loved his family, city and constituents. He had a particularly deeply felt social concern for the less well off in society who greatly benefited from Joe's input into this city. This is a time to reflect, to mark the sad loss and celebrate the extraordinarily good and successful life of Joe Doyle.

I join with colleagues in paying tribute to the late councillor, Senator, Deputy and lord mayor, Joe Doyle and extend my sympathies to his family.

I got to know Joe through serving for a short period on the eastern region health authority and the east coast area health board with him. In the latter case sometimes we would meet in south Dublin or Wicklow and when Peggy could not collect Joe, I would give him a lift home. Colleagues have mentioned Joe's great hearty laugh and his great sense of humour. Those car journeys would be filled with laughter as Joe recalled some funny event that had taken place during the week or in the course of the meeting.

Those car journeys were also filled with stories about the wife that he loved deeply and the family he was so proud of. In that context Joe would talk about any significant event that had happened at length on the journey home. I will finish by saying that my abiding thought and appreciation of Joe will always be the very kind words and advice he gave to a young Fianna Fáil councillor who was trying to find her feet. May he rest in peace.

I did not have the pleasure of serving in the Oireachtas with Joe, but I should like to offer a few words of tribute to him, and of sympathy to Peggy and the family, because he is a man who goes back a long way in my consciousness of politics. I was in France last year doing some work with people from the Auvergne who told me, in great excitement, that the former Irish Prime Minister had been temporarily waylaid due to a swine ‘flu scare. In the course of getting in touch with Ireland as regards that, I was informed of the sad news of Joe's death. He and his former constituency colleague were united in my mind, at that moment.

One of my earliest lessons on the nature of party politics came in 1992 when then, as now, I was unaligned, but I take particular interest in certain political matters, conscience issues in particular, as Senator Norris has briefly alluded to. I believe Senator John Hanafin's father, Des, was in the middle of a Seanad campaign at the time, having taken a stance that made him temporarily unpopular within his tribe. I contacted a much loved relation of mine who had a vote in the Seanad to ask him, not on the basis of any party preference on my part but given the issues involved, whether he would consider giving a vote to Des. I then discovered that party men do not cross parties that easily, and I got half an hour on the merits and virtues of Joe Doyle. By the time he was finished I was convinced that Joe was every bit as worthy of the vote as any person running in the Seanad election. I have no doubt that he was.

He was a man of deep faith and Christianity, as well as a man of conscience. It is not easy in politics to combine those qualities, but perhaps the maxim, "In essentials unity, in non-essentials diversity, but in all things charity" can be applied to all of us, and it certainly applied to Joe on the basis of anything I ever heard about him. Christianity is as much about what one does as what one says, as we all know.

The second time I came across Joe was in happy circumstances when in a previous job I was accompanying people from the Dublin archdiocese on the 50th anniversary pilgrimage to Lourdes, which was a subject of some media interest. I had a job in the press office of the Dublin archdiocese and I accompanied a crew from "Nationwide" on that particular pilgrimage. Anyone who has ever been on that pilgrimage will know that there is a particular bar, or perhaps several, where people, including and especially the volunteers, let their hair down at night, and boy do they let it down. I will never forget the sight of Joe Doyle posters, fresh from a previous successful election, which adorned this bar, and it was not just a case of one, but several. He was on that particular pilgrimage and was very well got and popular with all the people involved. His commitment was well known, and his goodwill was without condition towards all he encountered.

I should just like to add my words in that context, to share that memory with people and to say, ar dheis Dé go raibh sé, agus suaimhneas síoraí dhó.

I should also like to be associated with the tributes to the late Joe Doyle. As has been said, he was a Member of this House from 1987-89, and from 1993-02, when he successfully contested three Seanad elections on the Administrative Panel. I had the honour and pleasure of serving with him in the Seanad from 1997-02.

He made an enormous contribution to Irish political life and the Houses of the Oireachtas in his role as Senator and Deputy. He was reliable, good-humoured and a true gentleman. I extend my sincere sympathy to his wife, Peggy, his sons, David and Michael and daughter, Róisín, as well as to the extended family here today on their sad loss.

I ask Members for a minute's silence as a mark of respect to the late Joe Doyle. May he rest in peace.

Members rose.