Friday 19 July 2019

Tánaiste among politicians paying tribute to Brendan Grace and Noel Whelan in the Dáil

Noel Whelan, pictured last year, has died after a short illness (PA)
Noel Whelan, pictured last year, has died after a short illness (PA)
John Downing

John Downing

Politicians of all parties have paid tributes in the Dáil to the deceased comedian and singer Brendan Grace.

The TDs also saluted the memory of journalist and barrister, Noel Whelan, who has also died after a short illness.

Fianna Fáil deputy leader, Dara Calleary said they were two very different men. But both had made enormous contributions to Ireland’s political, legal, media, social and cultural life and both have died too young.

“Noel Whelan was very passionate about democracy and about people understanding and accessing that democracy,” Mr Calleary said.

Brendan Grace
Brendan Grace

He said Brendan Grace was immensely talented. “He had the unique distinction of being able to connect to generations of much different characters from ‘Bottler’ to ‘Father Fintan Stack’”.

Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, said they were both much loved personalities. He got to know Mr Whelan very well through the marriage equality referendum. He said he was somebody who made an extraordinary contribution to public life in Ireland and was deeply respected and trusted across the political divide.

“Brendan Grace was also a giant. There are few people in this House who haven’t heard, seen or been at a venue when he’s been entertaining, singing and making people laugh,” the Tánaiste said.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin said Brendan Grace brought boundless joy to millions of Irish people at home and abroad. He was a talented actor, singer and comedian who will be sorely missed.

Mr Howlin said he was shocked at Mr Whelan’s death. He was a fellow Wexford man and he knew the Whelan family well. He said Mr Whelan was somebody of “great intellect and great incisiveness.”

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