Thursday, 11 July 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Like others here, I wish to speak about the passing of two great people. I got to know Noel Whelan after I was first elected to this House. He made contact with me in 2011 and we discussed many things. I subsequently met him on numerous occasions. I always admired him because he went into politics, he stood for Fianna Fáil and it did not work out but he was not afraid of expressing his views, regardless of whether people agreed with him. He did so in the most articulate way imaginable, especially during the marriage equality referendum campaign and that relating to the eighth amendment, on which he took a very particular stance and was not afraid or shy about putting his case forward. I did not know Brendan Grace but I do know he spent an awful lot of time in County Clare. He purchased a pub in Killaloe. I know many people who knew him well and who speak extremely fondly of him. He spent many nights in the Armada Hotel in Spanish Point as an entertainer and as a guest. I understand that he was there very recently. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha dílse. We pass on our sympathies to their families and wish them well in dealing with their grief.
Since this is the final Order of Business before the summer recess, it is appropriate that we thank the Leas-Chathaoirleach, the Cathaoirleach, the Clerk, Martin Groves, the Clerk Assistant, Bridget Doody, and all the team in the Seanad Office who ensure that this House runs smoothly. It is also appropriate that we thank the rest of the staff in the Houses of the Oireachtas. I refer to the ushers and the support staff in the various sections, including the canteen, the Library, the Bills Office and so on. If it were not for them, the House would not be able to function. I hope they have an enjoyable, relaxing summer. There are lots of activities in County Clare. If they wish to visit us, they would be very welcome.