Tuesday, 10 October 2006
Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy.
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
I join other Members in expressing sympathy to the Fitzpatrick family on the sad passing of Mr. Tom Fitzpatrick. It is interesting people speak of the Cavan-Monaghan constituency and of Tom's association with the area of Scotshouse in Clones, but I think in the minds of many people throughout the length and breadth of the country, his association primarily would have been with the county of Cavan, not the county of his birth, as he represented Cavan as a single stand-alone constituency before the coming together of Cavan and Monaghan some years into his service in political life.
A native of Scotshouse, County Monaghan, as the Taoiseach indicated, he had his second level education at St. Macartan's college in Monaghan town. For 24 years he was a Member of this House, having previously served in the Seanad for four years. He served on Cavan Town Council, County Cavan VEC and many other local authority and other bodies in the service of his community and adopted county.
I had the privilege to engage with Tom Fitzpatrick on a number of occasions. During the election contests of the 1980s I had the opportunity to meet and get to know him in a small and quiet way and he impressed me. As other speakers said, he was a gentleman not only in my eyes but, I believe, in the eyes of anybody who had the honour and privilege of engaging with him and getting to know him a little. That would have been enough to confirm that fact. While we held different views on many issues, I say without hesitation that his life was spent in service to his party, constituency and country. That can never be contested.
On my behalf and that of the Sinn Féin Deputies, I convey to his wife, Carmel, his son, Thomas, his daughter, Geraldine, his brother, John Brendan — who cannot be present and who I have also had the pleasure of meeting and knowing in the past — and the other members of the extended Fitzpatrick family our sincere sympathy on their very personal bereavement. I wish to adjoin to that my sympathy to the Fine Gael colleagues of the late Tom Fitzpatrick in the Dáil and Seanad — he served in both — and to those in the Fine Gael organisation in Cavan and Monaghan who have lost someone who was clearly an important and guiding influence over many years. Ar dheis láimh Dé go raibh a anam dílis.