Seanad debates

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy


5:00 pm

Photo of Paul BradfordPaul Bradford (Fine Gael)

I join in the words of tribute to the late Joe Sherlock and extend my condolences and sympathy to his family, all of whom I know personally. I knew Joe Sherlock politically and personally for more than 20 years. The word I most associate with him is "determination". If Joe had not been so politically dedicated, my own political career might have been smoother. However, I hope we drew the best out of each other. While we were electoral rivals for many years, there was never a cross word between us. There were several occasions on which I offered electoral sympathy to Joe and vice versa.

In advance of the November 1992 election — in which, unfortunately, he lost his seat — I recall Joe was in hospital in Dublin to undergo heart surgery. I visited him there and we conversed about life and politics. We agreed there were greater battles than a political election. Fortunately, Joe came through that surgery and enjoyed a good quality of life for many more years.

People generally associate Joe with Mallow, where he was central to political life for almost 40 years. He came from the village and parish of Kildorrery, which was his first love geographically. Whether it was a GAA match in whichKildorrery was playing or the annual Kildorrery carnival, Joe always loved to go back to his home village.

He has many political monuments and people have mentioned the hospital and sugar factory in Mallow to which he dedicated much of his political career. He served for almost 40 years in local government and was the chairman of Mallow Town Council on many occasions. He also served on Cork County Council and in both Houses of the Oireachtas.

The political role with which he enjoyed being deeply involved was the old Southern Health Board. I imagine he was a member of that board for almost two decades, being one of the strong voices when it had a real role in the health services in north Cork and throughout the region. Whether it was a hospital in Mallow, Cork county or Kerry, or a query from a constituent from the health board region, he attended very sincerely to his duties. The legacy he has left to Mallow, Cork East and the province of Munster is one of simple service, dedication and commitment. Standing the political tests of four decades is a monument in itself.

Deputy Sherlock had a significant interest in local government and on numerous occasions he raised the question of the charter of local government. He was very happy at the time of the 1999 referendum which put local government on a statutory footing, a campaign with which he was very involved.

I have the fondest of political recollections of my political neighbour, Joe Sherlock. My office was only 200 yards from his front door and we met and spoke frequently. As is the case with rural and political life, we were political rivals but I hope we were political colleagues and friends. I will long and fondly remember him, as will all the people of Cork East and County Cork.


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