By Jimmy Rhatigan
HE WAS the quintessential gentleman of Irish and international politics.
He was a shining light, a man of honour and dignity in a profession that included all kinds of everyone.
Seamus Pattison was a people person. He was a devoted Labour Party man like his father before him, but he respected all classes and creeds, regardless of their beliefs and opinions, and regularly reminded that all men and women were equal.
Seamus has passed away aged 81 at Archersrath Nursing Home when he spent recent years after illness struck.
He was a great patient, easy to work with, as he showed respect for those who helped him through his tough battle.
He had enjoyed a gloriously active political career as he represented his native city and county and his country at local, national and international level.
He was a former councillor, Mayor, Freeman of Kilkenny City, TD, Minister for State, MEP and Ceann Comhairle.
But perhaps even more importantly he was a great New Street, Kilkenny neighbour, a man who enjoyed a chat with a parishioner about politics, a hurling match or the state of the nation as much as he did mixing with the then US President. Bill Clinton or the then British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
His respect for his constituents was born in his family home and perhaps bolstered in the trade union movement to which he was devoted from the time of his first job as an official with the then Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, now SIPTU.
It was as a trade unionist that he tended to the wants and the needs of the working man and woman and was a great believer in a fair day’s pay for an honest day’s work.
As a member of the European Parliament he earned the respect and admiration of fellow MEPs.
But it was perhaps as a member of Kilkenny Corporation that he really excelled as he loved working for our own people, comforting them in times of bereavement or simply helping to get a new back door or front window.
For Seamus, much of his politics was local. But he was to become a star on the international stage too.
Integrity and dignity are more than skin deep and those were the calling cards that made Seamus such a respected public representative.
During his illness he was tended to by the caring staff at Archersrath Nursing Home and by his devoted carers, Ann Power and Marian Murphy.
Seamus will forever be remembered in our city and county, not for boisterous speeches, nor will he be recalled as a man of raucous or disruptive nature.
He will be cherished as a man who loved his people and did his utmost to deliver, not only for those who voted for him but for his entire local community.
Love and delivery would be apt words for the legacy of a trade union officer and a political gentleman.
Requiem Mass was celebrated yesterday Tuesday at Seamus’s parish church of St Patrick, followed by burial at Foulkstown Cemetery.