Seanad debates

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

2:30 pm

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I am honoured to stand here today as a retiring Member of the Oireachtas, having served for 13 years at various levels and, prior to that, for seven years at local council level. Every public representative here knows that it is an honour to serve the public in any capacity and I have had that honour and privilege for more than 20 years. I have had the honour of being a councillor, Senator, Deputy and Minister of State and have sat on both sides of the Chamber, in opposition and in government. We are all very fortunate and privileged to be Members of this House and, for some of us, former Members of the Lower House. We celebrated the centenary of the first Dáil in 2019, which afforded us all the opportunity to reflect on and appreciate the fully functioning democracy that we enjoy and to remember those who made life sacrifices to build democracy in Ireland. I will certainly always cherish that. I will also cherish the great colleagues I have had in this and the other House, from all parties and none. Despite our political differences, we are all here to serve our communities and our people. We are passionate about that, and while we may differ on policies and politics, we are all here for the right reasons.

I acknowledge and wish well those colleagues who are standing for election to the Dáil or to the Seanad in the coming weeks and months. I wish my retiring colleagues the very best. I hope we will continue to meet and enjoy the pleasure of each other's company because, at the end of the day, when politics is done and dusted and the fight is over, it is important that we retain our friendships. I wish everyone well and want to put on the record my thanks to the staff of the Houses of the Oireachtas and to the Cathaoirleach for his engagement with us over recent years. I thank the ushers and other staff of the House who make us welcome here. This is especially important for those of us who do not reside at home when the Seanad and Dáil are sitting. We must remind people that some of us stay away from our families for two or three nights per week when the Houses of the Oireachtas are sitting and our family on those days is the staff of the Houses of the Oireachtas, including the ushers and others who make our lives a little bit easier. I wish everyone well in the coming weeks and months and thank the Cathaoirleach for giving me the time to put my thoughts on the record.


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