Senators recall past members

 

Tributes were paid to two former members of the House who have died.

The House leader, Mr Donie Cassidy, recalled that Mr James Larkin had been a Senator for a brief period in 1982. Mr Larkin was a founder member of Independent Fianna Fail and a life-long friend of the late Mr Neil Blaney. Mr Robert Burke had contested Dail elections in Galway for the Labour Party from 1933 to 1948 when he was elected to the Upper House. He had left after two years' service and he and his wife, Ann, had gone to Nigeria as lay missionaries. He had donated Toghermore House to the State, originally as a rehabilitation centre for TB patients.

The Fine Gael leader in the House, Mr Maurice Manning, said Mr Burke had made a singular act of public-spirited generosity in donating his house. Mr Shane Ross (Ind) observed that Mr Larkin had not been afraid to walk out of the mainstream of political life to follow Mr Neil Blaney into the political wilderness.

Many people would have disagreed with his political beliefs but would have been prepared to respect him for his courage and convictions. Mr Joe Costello (Lab) noted that Mr Burke had been a member of the Church of Ireland. The deputy Government leader in the House, Mr John Dardis (PD), said Mr Burke had had a remarkable degree of commitment to the underprivileged, domestically and internationally.