Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher Leas Cheann Comhairle of Dáil Eireann has paid tribute to the late Donegal North East TD Paddy Harte.
The former Dáil Deputy was first elected in 1961 to the 17th Dáil and in 11 subsequent elections having served as Minister of State in the Department of Post and Telegraphs from 1981 to 1982.
In all he served 36 years as a member of Dáil Eireann and passed away this morning.
“I wish to convey my deepest sympathy to the family of the late Paddy Harte his wife Rosaleen, their sons and daughters and wider family,” Deputy Gallagher said.
“I served with Paddy in Donegal County Council and Dáil Eireann and always found him to a committed politician, a firm advocate for justice & fairness and true Donegal man through and through.
“Known in the Dáil for his good counsel and advice, he was always first to reach out to others in order to advance different causes and co-operation on many different issues.
“In politics as in life believed in the peaceful co-existence of everyone on this island of Ireland, this was very much demonstrated in later life by Paddy with the Messines Island of Ireland Peace Park in western Flanders in Belgium.
“On a personal level, both Ann and I are indebted to him for his kindness to both my wife Ann and her sister Eileen in past years.
“The late Paddy Harte leaves behind him a legacy that will stand the test of time and will be favourably recorded when history will be written of his era, life and political career.
“Recognised for his personal contribution to integration and ecumenical works by the National University of Ireland, Queen Elizabeth II and King Albert II of Belgium – Paddy believed always that understanding our shared heritage and joint history of this entire island made it easier for all of us to understand our own backgrounds and perspectives of others.
“Paddy led a good life, made a massive contribution to public life and integration and greatly assisted many throughout his career but, to his family he was a loving husband, father and grandfather – today they lose their loved one.
“They can draw solace and comfort from the life he led, the works be carried out and the contribution made by him – he left his community, county and world a better place through his deeds and works. In the words of Lord Byron – ‘For the sword outwears its sheath and the soul wears out the breast. And the heart must pause to breathe and love itself have rest.’
“On my own behalf and as the Leas Cheann Comhairle of Dáil Eireann I convey our deepest sympathies to the family, his wife Rosaleen, sons, Daughters, grandchildren and his siblings.
“Eternal rest grant onto him O Lord – and may perpetual light shine upon him.”