Seanad debates

Tuesday, 9 July 2024

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

1:00 pm

Photo of Martin ConwayMartin Conway (Fine Gael)

I too would like to be associated with the very generous comments of the Cathaoirleach and Senator O'Loughlin on the passing of our dear friend and colleague, John O'Mahony. It came as a shock to all of us that he passed away so quickly. The last I heard of John was when he paid tribute to that great person, Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh.

I first met John before I was elected to the House, when he became a TD in 2007. He has always been a shining light and guiding force to all of us. He was steadfast in his views and opinions, which is what would be expected of somebody in politics. He was a genuinely kind, decent and sincere person. He was a mentor and somebody who was happy to dispense advice. When I was elected in 2012, I became very close to John O'Mahony. He looked out for people who came in here, and guided, supported and encouraged them. He instilled confidence and belief in people.

Of course, that was reflected in what he did on the sports field. He worked extremely hard and was dedicated. He was a team player and loyal to his team, which was seen in great counties like Mayo, Galway and Leitrim, where he achieved remarkable success in all counties. He did not achieve the elusive Sam Maguire for Mayo, but he brought the county as close to it as anybody has in many decades.I had the great privilege, along with other Senators, including the Cathaoirleach, to serve with John in the previous Seanad, where he was a great source of advice, support and wisdom at our group meetings. I remember being in Brussels with him after, I think, the 2019 election. We were having dinner in a restaurant that was about 20 minutes away from our hotel. It was misty and taxis could not be got. John did not have a coat or an umbrella, but he was fearless. He got out and walked back to his hotel in the rain. That shows John's absolute determination that nothing was going to get in his way.

In recent times, we saw John battle illness with great dignity, determination and focus. I have no doubt he is looking down on us today saying, “Lads, I am with you spirit, so get on with your job, go and win seats in the next election and I will be proud of you from above.” Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

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