Wednesday, 31 October 2007
Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy
Alex White (Labour)
Senator Norris will be pleased to know that I secured some 165 votes in the election.
By the time he retired, Joe had accumulated 40 years of unbroken service in elected office. This is a significant achievement in anybody's book. He contested a Dáil election for the first time in 1973 and continued to challenge for a seat until he was successful in 1981. As the Leader said, he was re-elected in 1982, 1989 and 2002. He was a type of Lazarus who kept returning, whether to this House, through the labour panel, or to the Lower House. He served these Houses with great distinction throughout those years.
When he retired earlier this year, he threw himself into the election campaign of his son and our colleague, Deputy Sherlock. He was immensely proud that his son was successful in retaining the seat in Cork East. It is sad that Joe did not get to enjoy a significant period of retirement. As someone who contributed so much to his county and country and to politics in general, he deserved such a retirement. He will be sadly missed in Mallow and elsewhere in east Cork as well as in the Labour Party. He was a man of considerable integrity and passion. As my party leader, Deputy Gilmore, said at his graveside, we are saying goodbye to a true political comrade, friend and patriot. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.