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A flair for business and a practical approach to politics.... and don't forget the 'daring socks' - Feargal Quinn remembered at Leinster House

People person: Senator and businessman Feargal Quinn outside Leinster House in 2005. Photo: Tom Burke
People person: Senator and businessman Feargal Quinn outside Leinster House in 2005. Photo: Tom Burke
John Downing

Warm tributes have been paid at Leinster House to the extraordinary “business man, writer, television personality, public servant and senator” who was Feargal Quinn.

Family, friends, and former colleagues gathered in the Seanad to recall the extraordinary life of the man who had become a household name in Ireland before his death last April at the age of 82.

Mr Quinn had spent 23 years as a member of Seanad Éireann, put forward many practical draft laws, and played a key role in defeating a referendum in 2013 to abolish the upper house of parliament.

READ MORE: The mighty Quinn taught us how to crown customers

But, in affectionate tributes from members of all parties and independents, there were frequent humorous references to his daring choice of ties and socks.

Chairing the session, Seanad Leas-Chathaoirleach Paul Coghlan recalled his old friend’s flair for business, warmth in human relations and his practical approach to politics.

Senator Feaergal Quinn
Senator Feaergal Quinn

Senator Coghlan also humourously recalled Mr Quinn’s “brave choice of ties and socks”. Mr Coghlan said he could never be so daring.

READ MORE: The final Problem Solver from Feargal Quinn

Paying tribute on behalf of Fianna Fáil, Senator Diarmuid Wilson noted with approval his pithy five-word definition of the concept of management. “Getting results through other people,” he summed up.

But Senator Wilson could not resist a reference to those socks – suggesting that he eclipsed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, whose socks were also remarked upon more recently.

READ MORE: Shane Ross: 'Kind to a fault, Feargal Quinn leaves a lovely legacy of friendship'

“He was the man to patent the effectiveness of socks, long before Deputy Varadkar was even born,” he quipped.

Former Tánaiste Michael McDowell also paid warm tributes. He insisted that Feargal Quinn was central to defeating the Seanad abolition referendum in October 2013.

“He swung that campaign by simply being the man he was and reminding people of the value of this house,” Senator McDowell said.

Michael McDowell
Michael McDowell

READ MORE: Brendan O'Connor: 'Goodbye to Ireland's first hipster'

But he could not avoid another reference to Senator Quinn’s brightly-coloured ties and socks.

Addressing Mr Quinn's family he said: “I put on my most colourful tie for the occasion, though I draw the line at socks.”

Others who joined in the tribute included Senator Ivana Bacik of Labour, Paddy Burke and Jerry Buttimer of Fine Gael, and Independents Victor Boyhan and David Norris. Family and friends were joined in the visitors’ gallery by former colleagues and friends, Children’s Minister, Katherine Zappone, and former senators, Maurice Manning and Seán Barrett.

At the close of the tribute session they all joined the chairman Senator Coghlan in a moment of quiet reflection on the extraordinary life and careers of Feargal Quinn.

READ MORE: 'A genius... a magic authenticity' - funeral of Feargal Quinn hears warm tributes to the businessman and the family man

Online Editors

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