Wednesday 23 January 2019

Tributes as former Ceann Comhairle Pattison dies aged 81

Séamus Pattison served as a TD from 1961 until 2007
Séamus Pattison served as a TD from 1961 until 2007
John Downing

John Downing

Séamus Pattison, one of Europe's longest-serving parliamentarians, has died aged 81.

Mr Pattison was a Labour Party TD for Carlow-Kilkenny from 1961 until 2007 and also won the respect of all deputies as Ceann Comhairle and Leas-Chomhairle of Dáil Éireann.

A native of Kilkenny city, he was first elected to the Dáil in October 1961 for Carlow-Kilkenny, a seat previously held by his father, James, who was a TD for the constituency from 1932 to 1951 and again from 1954 to 1957. He had unsuccessfully fought a by-election in June 1960 and also worked as a trade union official for a time.

Mr Pattison was very active in local politics, was mayor of Kilkenny on three occasions and was awarded the freedom of Kilkenny. He also served as junior social welfare minister from 1983 to 1987.

A quiet-spoken man, he was liked and respected by politicians of all parties.

He was known as someone who helped and supported younger politicians at Leinster House with wise advice, and he was respected as an independent chairman of Dáil sessions.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Mr Pattison was a well respected Ceann Comhairle who represented his constituents in Carlow and Kilkenny for nearly five decades with distinction.

"I send my condolences to his family at this sad time," Mr Varadkar said.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin paid a warm tribute to his former colleague, remembering him as generous and supportive to him in his younger years as a TD.

"Séamus represented the best of an old Labour tradition. I was proud to have known him and worked with him. May he rest in peace," Mr Howlin said.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin was also prominent among those who saluted Mr Pattison's memory.

"He was a gentleman who commanded the respect of all sides of the house. He was fair and impartial and ensured that all TDs got a fair hearing when he sat in the chair," Mr Martin said.

Mr Pattison never married and he is survived by brothers Joseph, Michael and Monsignor Francis Pattison, who lives in San Diego, California.

Irish Independent

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