Tuesday, 10 October 2006
Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy.
Bertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
He held those faithfully and would lecture us on that from the benches opposite or the Ceann Comhairle's seat. He firmly held the view that precedents were important and that there should be respect for Parliament and positions. He fought for that and with his sharp legal mind he was able to use those standing orders eloquently.
As Whip for Government and Opposition I was lucky enough to go on a number of overseas visits which he led as Ceann Comhairle on behalf of this House. He always excelled on these occasions. I visited the United States and many other countries and parliaments with him and he always put the case for this country, for parliamentary democracy and our political process in a forthright way. With him I met George Bush Snr. to put forward how we deal with our business in this House and this democracy, and I held him in high regard for all that.
As Deputy Kenny said, while we remember him as a parliamentary colleague, we extend our sympathies to his close family and friends. On behalf of the Fianna Fáil Party, I extend our sympathy to his wife Carmel, his daughter Geraldine, his son Tom, his brother John and all his extended family. I thank them for being here today. He was a great person, politician and friend, and it was an honour to serve in this House with him. I held him in great regard and respect and thanked him many times for the encouragement he gave me, some of which he offered in recent times.