Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy
I welcome the family of the late former Senator Maurice Hayes to the Chamber. I welcome his lovely wife, Joan, and his family, Clodagh and Nick, Margaret and Keith, Dara and Jane and William, Charlotte, Cecilia, Harriet and Garrett and family, Ronan, Laura and son Maurice. The grandchildren should be very proud of their grandfather. I had the honour of serving with him for nearly five years and what struck me most was his great humour, humility and ability. In a sense, with that ability came humility. One would not realise his achievements which were absolutely enormous. Few people realise the work to which he contributed in Northern Ireland. He rose through the ranks of the civil service to become the most senior civil servant in Northern Ireland. He played an enormous role in the Good Friday Agreement and before that the Downing Street Declaration, as well as everything else that happened in Northern Ireland. That is why the former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, decided to appoint him as one of his 11 nominees to Seanad Éireann. He was reappointed for a second term, which is unusual because very few are reappointed among the Taoiseach's 11 nominees. Because of his contributions, he was a vital part of this House. He had enormous ability which we have to say with great sincerity. He lived a great and a good life and his family will miss him as much as ever.
Maurice Hayes was also appointed to chair the National Forum on Europe. If he was still here, he would have been of enormous assistance in dealing with Brexit. His ability would have been enormously helpful. We all owe him a great debt of gratitude.
My grandparents came from Lurgan, County Armagh and we often spoke about the North and developments there. As the Leader said, Maurice Hayes was a bridge between the North and the South.He was a great attender in this House. I agree totally with the Leader and Cathaoirleach. When he spoke in the House he spoke with such sincerity and conviction. If his family get an opportunity to read through his contributions to the House, they will be singularly proud of what he said and the role he played in North-South relations over a long period. We could go on for a long time but I wish to sincerely congratulate the family of Maurice Hayes. He was a man among men and a leader of this country. As the Cathaoirleach has said, we were privileged to have served with him in the House. God rest his soul.