Tributes flood in for 'great and proud Irishman' Seamus Dolan
Published 12/08/2010 | 05:00
The oldest retired member of the Oireachtas, 95-year-old Seamus Dolan who died on Tuesday, was older than the State and survived a bloody civil war at home and two World Wars that changed the globe.
The former cathoirleach, senator and TD also lived through the inter-continental destruction of the first half of the 20th Century, but the economic war with Britain left an indelible mark on his generation.
Although he was 12 years old when the party was founded, Mr Dolan was a lifelong supporter of Fianna Fail who served them in every forum to which he could get elected.
He represented Belturbet on Cavan County Council and was elected to the Dail as TD for Cavan from 1961 to 1965 and then served as a member of the Senate from 1965 to 1969.
Seamus Dolan's reflective common sense suited the Senate and he served again from 1973.
But his greatest honour was still to come. In 1977, he was elected cathoirleach of the Senate and he served as chairman of the upper house with great distinction until 1981.
He was born in 1914 in Blacklion, Co Fermanagh, although it would be some years before a border would divide it from Co Cavan where he lived and served the community for the rest of his life.
He was a national school teacher and a farmer before going into politics and was a passionate advocate of the Irish language all of his life.
Fianna Fail TD for Cavan- Monaghan Margaret Conlon joined the Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith yesterday to pay tribute to the late Mr Dolan.
"He was a great Irishman and was very proud of his country, its history and its language," said Ms Conlon.
"As a fluent Irish speaker he took every opportunity to promote the language and its use."
Mr Smith is TD for the Cavan- Monaghan constituency where Mr Dolan lived with his family.
"Seamus Dolan was a diligent and committed public representative over a long period and he served with great distinction," said Mr Smith.
He added: "I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife Brid, his sons, daughters and extended family."