Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy to the late Dr. Edward Haughey

1 October 2014

Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Go raibh maith agat, a Leas-Chathaoirligh. I wish to join with others on behalf of the Labour Party group, and as leader of the Labour Party group, to pay tribute to the late Dr. Edward Haughey, who as others have said served as a Senator in this House for two terms, from 1994 and again in 1997. As we know, he died very tragically earlier this year. I particularly wanted to speak personally because two of Edward's children, Caroline and Edward, are former students of mine in the law school in Trinity. I wish to extend to Caroline and Edward - and James and Mary - not just my own personal sympathies and those of the Labour Party group, but also the sympathies of all my colleagues in the law school in Trinity. I have specifically been asked to do so by the head of the law school, Dr. Oran Doyle. There is a strong family connection with Trinity. Trinity really does appreciate that and, as a Trinity Senator, I appreciate that. I had a very productive working relationship with them, particularly with Caroline, on criminology research as a student. I know what great students they were and how very much we value them as alumni of Trinity. I wish to say a few words about the late Dr. Haughey who I did not know personally, but who, as others have said, was a very successful entrepreneur and who combined successful careers in both business and in politics across two islands. In a unique sense, he contributed an enormous amount to his local community and to the broader communities in Britain and in Ireland. He brought many jobs to Newry, as founder and chair of the Norbrook veterinary pharmaceutical company. I am told there are thousands of jobs across four continents with Norbrook. Others have spoken of the success of that business. He combined that with a successful political career. The Leader of the House has said that he was the first person in decades to serve both as a Senator in the Upper House but also in the House of Lords in England. He must have been unique to have served two terms as a Senator nominated by different Fianna Fáil Taoisigh and for him then to go on to become a sitting Member of the House of Lords for both the UUP and, subsequently, the Conservative Party. He had a truly unique political career which was influential on both sides of the Border. As others have said, he brought a unique perspective on Northern Ireland to the Seanad. This House has always had a particular interest and affinity with the politics of Northern Ireland. Many of his obituaries mentioned the work he had done behind the scenes on the peace process. This was done at personal risk to himself and his family. He did become a target - as we know - for dissidents at a certain time. His philanthropy was also commented upon as were the donations he made - often anonymously - to different projects such as local schools and at third level. There was a very important obituary in the London Independent which referred to his time in the House of Lords, to which he was appointed in 2004, when he became Baron Ballyedmond and how he had moved at that point into the heart of the British establishment. An anecdote points out that he was sitting next to Margaret Thatcher at a House of Lords' dinner in 2008 when she became faint and was taken to hospital. Clearly he had a political career that spanned contact at very high levels in Britain and in Ireland. The same obituary in the London Independent spoke of his reluctance to delegate and his success as a self-made businessman. There was a lovely quote from the local journalist, Eamonn Mallie, who said that Edward Haughey:

    ... gave a huge lifeline to south Armagh. He took over an old factory and he turned it into a huge concern. He was an absolute dynamo, a phenomenon, he just couldn't stop - that's the sort of guy he was.

The obituary quotes tributes from across the political spectrum and others too. Those sorts of tributes encapsulate the great achievements that Edward Haughey had in a career that was all too sadly cut short. I wish to conclude by expressing my own sincere sympathies to his wife, Mary, Edward, James and Caroline and to those family and friends who are here today, his son-in-law, who I have just met, and to other family and friends and to convey all of our sympathies on behalf of the Labour Party group and my colleagues in Trinity. Go raibh maith agat.