Seanad debates

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Diarmuid WilsonDiarmuid Wilson (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I concur with what Senator Feighan said about Kevin Lunney. The difficulties in that part of counties Cavan and Fermanagh have been experienced for many years. They did not only start in the past three or four years. They have been going on since 2011. I welcome the additional Garda resources deployed but it is not sufficient to send uniformed new recruits to this area. Specialist gardaí need to be put in place who can man the Border and who, along with their colleagues in the PSNI, can target these people.

The main reason I wish to speak is the death yesterday afternoon of Fr. Des Wilson, to which Senator Conway Walsh referred. He was known to many as a formidable priest, an outstanding mentor and in the words of Fr. Brian D'Arcy "a delightful honest rebel". Fr. Des was dearly loved by the Springhill community and the people of west Belfast whom he served diligently for more than 60 years. There are others in this House and the Lower House who I know will pay tribute to him. To Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile he was a great friend and mentor. To Teachta Adams, he was a livelong friend and the priest who married him and his wife Colette. To me, he was my father's first cousin and a man about whom I loved to hear stories. The fact that he and my uncle John studied together in the seminary in Maynooth at the same time gave our family a great source of amusement. They took entirely different roads, one a priest and the other a politician, but they were more alike than unalike.


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