Seanad debates

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy


4:00 pm

Photo of Camillus GlynnCamillus Glynn (Fianna Fail)

Ba mhaith liom comhbhrón a dhéanamh le bean agus clann Seán Mac Aogáin, a fuair bás le déanaí. Bhí aithne agam ar Sheán le fada agus ba fear macánta, dílis agus díograsach é.

I knew Seán Keegan for many years. When I first became a member of Westmeath County Council in 1979, Seán was the leader of the Fianna Fáil group. My knowledge of Seán pre-dated 1979 in that my first vote in a general election was cast for him. I was always struck by his commitment to the public he served. He was a champion of the underprivileged. Nobody could ever claim to have had no response to a telephone call or visit to him. Seán Keegan was the consummate contributor to public life and he was absolutely at his best in serving those who needed his service.

He had a strong commitment to the agricultural sector and he never lost an opportunity to articulate the needs and woes of those involved. He was a trenchant debater in Westmeath County Council. When he was fighting an issue, the engineer, manager or official who said "No" to Seán Keegan would have to have his or her facts and figures right. It was my experience that Seán nearly always won the day. I also had the great privilege of serving with him on the county committee on agriculture, where he excelled. As a member of the Midland Health Board for many years, Seán served through difficult times. He was also a member of the farm advisory sub-committee. The Cathaoirleach served with him at that time and I am sure he too was astounded by the depth of Seán's knowledge of this sector.

Seán was motivated by the highest principles that should obtain in public life. When he was elected to the Dáil in 1977, it was not a question of him measuring up to the job but of whether the job would measure up to his standards. He gave everything he had to public life. He was a Member of this House for some seven years. When he lost his Dáil seat in the election of November 1982, he did so by only a handful of votes. Being the man he was, he did not stand back from the party but instead continued to contribute.

One of his great strengths was his organisational ability. There was no cumann in Westmeath, no mater how small, that was not organised on at least an annual basis when Seán Keegan was a Deputy. He engendered a spirit of great pride in being involved in a political party but he also had great respect for those of other political persuasions. The late, great Gerry L'Estrange, Joe Sheridan and many others served in the Oireachtas and the county council with Seán. They would bat each other across the floor but were the best of friends outside it. Their activities and the words uttered within the Chamber were always in the best interests of the people they served.

I could speak at great length about Seán Keegan's attributes. Suffice to say, I was privileged to know him and to have served with him. I convey my sincerest sympathy to his wife, Mary, and children, Maria, Nan, Nuala, Tom and Gearóid, and his extended family. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.


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