Daughter of Fianna Fail TD dies after cancer battle
FIANNA Fail TD Christy O'Sullivan was forced to leave the Dail early yesterday due to the sudden death of his daughter.
Pauline Hicks, who was in her early 40s, had been battling cancer but had recently been out buying Christmas presents for her three children.
His early departure meant Mr O'Sullivan, elected to represent Cork South West in the last general election, was not able to take part in the Budget votes on the social welfare cuts.
However, he was granted a 'pair' by Fine Gael on compassionate grounds, which meant that one of its TDs did not vote yesterday during Mr O'Sullivan's absence.
Fine Gael Cork South West TD Jim O'Keeffe said the sudden death of Mr O'Sullivan's daughter was "dreadfully sad".
"Particularly at this time of year with a husband and a young family. They have all my sympathy, as indeed has Christy," he said.
Ms Hicks was a past pupil of Sacred Heart secondary school in Clonakilty and, in 1990, she was hired to work there as a teacher.
School principal Ann Marie Brosnan last night paid a glowing tribute to her as a "gifted and talented teacher".
"Her personality was bubbly, vivacious and positive and she certainly brought this into her teaching in the classroom. We're deeply saddened by her death," she said.
Ms Brosnan highlighted her contribution as pianist in the school orchestra and as musical director for the school's musicals.
Local Fine Gael councillor, Humphrey Deegan, said the school musicals Ms Hicks was involved in had always attracted sell-out crowds.
"It's a savage loss," he said.
The Sacred Heart secondary school is to be closed as a mark of respect tomorrow, when her funeral Mass will take place in Clonakilty Church at 12.30pm.
Mr O'Sullivan, who is based in Clonakilty, and his wife Paddi have seven children in their family.
Ms Hicks is survived by her husband Michael and three children Sarah, Joseph and Eric.