Friday, 10 December 2010
Handling of Criminal Matter in Longford: Statements
Peter Kelly (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
Mr. Noel Keegan, rest in peace. I would like to say a few words on the tragic death of Mr. Noel Keegan, which occurred almost a year ago. The dreadful circumstances surrounding his death have been well documented in the press and what happened on last New Year's Eve was a dreadful tragedy and has robbed a wife and family of a loving husband and father.
I went to see Marie, Noel's widow, last New Year's Day to pay my respects and hear what happened. I was appalled and very saddened when I learned of the details surrounding his death. I knew Noel, a retired member of the Army, for many years. He was an honest, decent and hard-working man, and the Keegan family is highly respected in Longford. Noel's primary interest and motivation in life was looking after his family, and they, with his wife, were his life.
Our sympathy goes to Noel's wife Marie, his mother, Kathleen, his children, Lisa, Nicola, John, Claire and Sinéad, grandchildren, Cameron and Ben, his brothers and sisters, John, Séamus, Catherine and Bernie, his aunt, Nell, and all his relatives and friends. His death has left these people bereft and the last year has been hellish for them. Noel's death should never have happened and the fact that it was avoidable is what it makes it very hard to accept. What happened to Noel was an outrage.
Following Noel's death, the Minister for Justice and Law Reform, Deputy Dermot Ahern, commissioned a report into how this could have happened. The findings of the report by Judge Michael Reilly speaks for itself, and we must ensure this never happens again. No other loving and peaceful family should have to endure anything similar. Today is not a day for recriminations but for apologies. Noel Keegan, his wife Marie and their children have been let down significantly by the system and the events of last New Year's Eve were a tragedy. I extend a sincere apology to the Keegan family for their loss.