Local Labour express sadness on death of Seamus Pattison, their ‘lost hero’.
The Labour Party in Carlow-Kilkenny is today mourning the loss of Seamus Pattison, former councillor, Mayor, Freeman of Kilkenny, Teachta Dála, Minister for State, MEP and Ceann Comhairle.
The constituency Chairperson, Seán Ó hArgáin, speaking on behalf of members and supporters, described Mr. Pattison as ‘the essence of public service, integrity and selfless dedication to working people and Labour values’.
Mr Ó hArgáin said:
“Today is a day we all hoped would not happen but the dignity of Seamus’s passing matched the dignity of the way he lived his life and served the people. His record of service is truly unique. When he retired from Dáil Éireann 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 of course Carlow-Kilkenny with distinction. His meetings with world leaders were a source of great pride to him and to us as his local supporters and perhaps 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 and wit with which we were very familiar.
“Seamus was most comfortable however in his local ‘village’ area of St. Patrick’s parish in Kilkenny city. He was hugely proud of the three terms he served as Mayor of the city and of the decades he spent as a member of Kilkenny Corporation. His election as Freeman of the city in 2008 was an indication of his immense popularity among the people of the city but also among his political colleagues of all parties.
“Seamus’s life-long commitment to the trade union movement was at the very core of his politics. He started his professional life as a trade union official and remained loyal to the binds between the Labour Party and the unions. He always promoted the advancement and protection of worker’s rights and remained close to the Kilkenny branch of the ITGWU and later SIPTU, in whose premises his constituency office was situated in Patrick Street.
“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 attention to the needs of every citizen of Kilkenny and Carlow who asked for his assistance, regardless of their political background, was the epitome of his commitment to serving the public. His extensive network of clinics, from Rathvilly to Pilltown, were the key to his connection to voters. Many of these famously took place on Sunday mornings, meaning Seamus literally worked seven days a week.
“This week we will bid farewell to a true icon of Kilkenny and Irish politics. We will also say goodbye to a friend, a comrade, an advisor, a supporter and our banner-carrier for so long. Of course, the Pattison family bid farewell to a brother, brother in law and uncle. We send our condolences to his brothers MonsignorFrancis, Joe and Michael, his sisters in law Eilís and Carmel and his nephew and nieces and extended family.
“Seamus celebrated with us the election of Ann Phelan in 2011 and shared our disappointment at the loss of the seat in 2016. He also supported us in rebuilding our party to regain what he ensured was our rightful place in the politics of Carlow and Kilkenny. The greatest tribute we could pay to Seamus’s memory is to rebuild that legacy. Seamus was one of the last remaining links to Labour leader Tom Johnson, who wrote the Democratic Programme of the first Dáil in 1919. As we approach the centenary of that event, we will do all we can to honour that tradition.”