OUR people lost a truly inspirational Statesman and Gentle Giant in Seamus Pattison who served his community for 46 years.
Seamus transcended many different divides. Tributes by others have been amazing.
Seamus, in my home and many other homes in Kilkenny, will always be a great friend.
My mam, Roseanne Smyth, an old neighbour and friend, grew up in Patrick Street, a stone’s throw away from Seamus’s New Street home.
His door was always open. My grandfather Mick, an ardent supporter, would regularly take the short trip to the Pattison home seeking guidance. Seamus was always ready to assist.
The Pattison work ethic was second to none and he represented people to the best of his ability.
Across John’s Bridge in Newpark, home of the Brophys, Seamus was highly respected and admired.
He never had to knock at No. 33, home of Denis and Eileen Brophy at election time as his support was guaranteed but never taken for granted by Seamus.
My final cherished memory of Seamus was showing him the wonderful booklet produced for the Newpark 60th Reunion which had a collection of photographs of old friends like the Codys.
Seamus spent many a time discussing the issues of the day in No. 1 Newpark over cups of tea and Mrs Cody’s brown bread.
There, a young Joe Cody listened and learned and was inspired and followed Seamus’s foot steps in seeking public office in which he, like Seamus, showed great dignity and honour, becoming the youngest person to get elected to Kilkenny Corporation in 1974, aged 21.
Seamus’s political accomplishments were many. He enjoyed an uninterrupted membership of Dáil Eireann from 1961 to 2007.
Seamus witnessed a huge transformation in Irish Society. He was Ceann Comhairle from 1997 to 2002 and Leas Ceann Comhairle from 2002 to 2007.
He was Junior Minister for Social Welfare and also represented Ireland at the European Parliament as MEP from 1981 to 1983.
He continued the work of his late father James Pattison who was a TD for over 20 years.
Seamus’s had many great supporters and friends, including his wonderful secretary, Nuala Culleton.
I didn’t know Seamus during his prime, but the man I knew in later years, despite his illness, was a gentle, unassuming, good humoured and inspirational person.
Seamus is no longer with us but his legacy and high standards he set will stand the test of time.
Seamus was an ordinary man who did extra ordinary things but didn’t broadcast them or look for praise.
He represented the best of a Labour tradition which was about helping working people, protecting the vulnerable and Social Justice.
I believe that if the Labour Party is to re-establish itself in Carlow/Kilkenny and nationally it must go back to the principles that Seamus Pattison fought for every day of his life.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
Paul Brophy, Labour Party Area Representative