LOCAL Labour Party Constituency Chair, Seán Ó hArgáin, described Seamus Pattison as the essence of public service, integrity and selfless dedication to working people and Labour values.
“Seamus’s record of service is unique. When he retired from the Dáil in 2007, he was the longest-serving parliamentarian in Europe and one of the longest-serving of all time in world politics.
“In his roles as Minister, MEP, but particularly as Ceann Comhairle, he represented Ireland and Carlow, Kilkenny with distinction.
“His meetings with world leaders were a source of great pride.
“His famous chairing of the session where Tony Blair became the first British Prime Minister to address the houses of the Oireachtas stands out.
“In it the nation and watching world got a taste of Seamus’s great sense of humour.
“Seamus was most comfortable in his local ‘Village’ area of St Patrick’s Parish.
“He was proud of the three terms he served as Mayor of the city and his decades as a member of Kilkenny Corporation.
“His election as Freeman of the City in 2008 was an indication of his immense popularity.
“His lifelong commitment to the trade union movement was at the core of his politics.
“He always promoted the advancement and protection of workers’ rights and remained close to the Kilkenny branch of the ITGWU and later SIPTU, Patrick Street where he had his constituency office.
“It was through this office with his hugely attentive secretaries including his right-hand woman Nuala Culleton, along with Mary Roberts, Theresa Davis, Chris Brooke and Rena Dowling that Seamus’s legendary constituency service operated.
“His network of clinics, from Rathvilly to Piltown were key to his connection to voters.
“We have said farewell to a true icon of Kilkenny and Irish politics. We said goodbye to a friend, a comrade, advisor, a supporter, our banner-carrier for so long.
“We send our condolences to his brothers Monsignor Francis, Joe and Michael, sisters-in-law Eilís and Carmel, nephew, nieces and extended family.
“Seamus was one of the last remaining links to Labour leader Tom Johnson, who wrote the Democratic Programme of the first Dáil in 1919.”