Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Former Minister Seamus Brennan dies

It is with sadness that I learn that the veteran former Fianna Fáil minister Seamus Brennan, TD for Dublin South, has died. Leaders from across the political divide have been paying tributes to the former cabinet minister, Séamus Brennan, who died this morning. Mr Brennan, 60, had been unwell for some time and died in the early hours of this morning at his home in Churchtown in Dublin. Tributes have poured in from across the political-spectrum. In a statement, President Mary McAleese expressed her sadness at the passing of the former Fianna Fáil minister and paid tribute to his contribution to the country.'Séamus played a major role in the building of the modern Ireland,' she said. 'His many talents were such that he could have been successful in several fields, yet it was a mark of the man that he chose to devote those gifts to public service and the public good. His achievements and contribution will leave a lasting mark on our country.' The Dáil held a minute's silence in his memory after deputies expressed their sympathy to Mr Brennan's wife, Ann, and their six children. Taoiseach Brian Cowen described Brennana as astute and capable minister, while Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said he brought "a deep human understanding to all aspects of politics and could always be relied upon to respond in a calm and measured way to any crisis". Health Minister Mary Harney praised him for having "one of the most professional constituency organisations in the country and won the confidence of Dublin South time and time again, without dail". Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, credited Mr.Brennan with introducing competition in the aviation sector.

He was first elected to the Dáil in 1981. A Galwegian by birth, he moved to Dublin in the 1970s, representing Dublin South from the time the constituency was created. A prominent member of the "gang of 22" that opposed Charlie Haughey's leadershop in the early 1980s, his reservations about the former leader were vindicated by the revelations of the McCracken Tribunal a generation later. He served in the Cabinets of Charles J Haughey (Tourism and Transport, Tourism, Transport and Communications), Albert Reynolds (Education) and Bertie Ahern (Transport, Social and Family Affairs and Arts, Sport and Tourism) but asked not to be appointed to the Cabinet due to illness. He had been on the Fianna Fáil front bench continuously since 1987. As a long-time admirer of Seamus Brennan's career and policies, I think the nation is the worse for his passing. His plans for the opening up of the Dublin bus market to competition in particular would have benefited the travelling public there. And the selflessness with which he declined to run for the FF leadership in a 30 year career in spite of serving at some of the highest levels of government only serve to emphasise his selfless devotion to serving the public rather than himself. Irish politics and society is the pooring for his passing. The removal of the remains of the late Séamus Brennan will take place to Holy Cross church in Dundrum at 7am tomorrow evening. Burial will take place after 12pm Mass on Friday.

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