Tuesday, 10 October 2006
Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy.
Michael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Deputy Kenny has described Mr. Tom Fitzpatrick as one of nature's gentlemen and, from my first meetings with him when I was in Fine Gael and on every occasion since, I regarded him as belonging to that category. In his oratorical skills from the backs of lorries in places such as Bailieborough, there was a fierce and combative side to him, but in this House, where I first encountered him, I thought he was like a kindly uncle, always with a smile on his face and always decent to younger people in the political system.
When I was elected to this House in 1987 he was just finishing his career in the House. He was a senior Member of this House and always displayed charm, integrity and decency. I am glad he held so many ministerial offices and that of Ceann Comhairle. He discharged all his offices and his role as a representative for the people of Cavan and Monaghan with dignity, decency and compassion. When he entered this House he was a fierce champion of the causes he believed in but never with malice and always with honesty. We were privileged to know him, to be served and presided over by him. Today it is an honour to be able to pay tribute to him. For his family it is a sad occasion but also one of which they can be fiercely proud. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.