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Mick Wallace becomes emotional during last Dáil address before he heads off to Europe

Wallace is one of four TDs elected to the European Parliament.

INDEPENDENT WEXFORD TD Mick Wallace became emotional during his last address to the Dáil before heads off to Europe

Wallace is one of four TDs elected to the European Parliament, of which three were in the chamber yesterday for their last day.

Departing from normal procedures, Leas Cheann Comhairle Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher allowed the departing TDs to say a few words before starting their new jobs as MEPs on Tuesday.

Beginning his address, he joked that Gallagher had at times tried to shut him up, then adding:

“I was not in here quite as long as Billy [Kelleher] and thanks be to God for that. I can live with that. I will start by thanking the people of Wexford for electing me in 2011 and 2016.”

He thanked all the people who voted for him in the European elections, stating that it “was probably more support than I deserved. If I never do anything else I will always appreciate it”.

Speaking about his time in Leinster House, he said:

I have had an amazing time in here. It has been very frustrating and fulfilling in equal measure. It has been an incredible experience. I thank all of the staff and Members. I have probably been pretty merciless with many Ministers but I like to think that my criticism was never personal and I always respected the person I was taking lumps off.
A few of them pushed me to the bone all right and I was threatening to go down those steps and across the floor after a couple of fellows but I stayed on this side.
I do not know what it will be like in Europe. From the couple of weeks I have been over there trying to organise things, it will be very challenging and difficult to make a difference but I was never afraid of hard work and I will work incredibly hard to try to make that difference and rescue Europe from the hands of large corporations and the neo-liberal philosophy. I see this something that the people who elected me want me to do.

Wallace then became emotional when he said he wanted to thank two people that have helped in the HSE.

“I have been pretty critical of the HSE in my time in here but both of them have done some very good work for someone very close to me and I thank them.”

Billy Kelleher

Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher also spoke about his long career in the Dáil, stating “in one sense, it is nice to leave the Houses of the Oireachtas on your own terms”.

He said it has been a “huge honour” to have served in the Houses of the Oireachtas since 1993.

“I came in here when I was 24 years of age and it has been a hugely enjoyable journey filled with honour and privilege on many occasions. I served under numerous Taoisigh from various parties. I worked in a collegial manner with most people in the House. I would like to think I have made friends along the way and learned an awful lot,” he added, stating that he looks forward to working on behalf of the people of Ireland South in Europe.

Frances Fitzgerald 

Former Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald also addressed the chamber yesterday telling her colleagues that she remembers the first day she walked into the Dáil.

“I have been very lucky to have had the opportunity to serve as a Deputy, a Senator and as a Minister and bring forward very important legislation and see it passed in the Houses, and, of course, to serve as Tánaiste.

“I have spent an extremely challenging, interesting and worthwhile time here and I have really enjoyed it.”

The Leas Ceann Comhairle concluded:

I believe I speak for everyone when I wish Clare Daly well. I know all four departing Deputies will be missed. They made a major contribution to political life in Ireland and they will make a major contribution to political life in Europe.
As an Irish mother would always say, the door will always be open. It will be a hard door to open. The Tánaiste and I are two of those who had a dual mandate and both doors were open to us but that is not the way it is now. Some of us came back and we are very happy.

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