Dáil Éireann - Volume 594 - 02 December, 2004
Expressions of Sympathy.
Mr. Kenny Mr. Kenny
Mr. Kenny: I am sure the House will agree with me in tendering sympathy to the wife and family of the late Georgie Ted Russell. Ted Russell was born in 1912. During his long life he served the State well, both in national and local politics, in business, sport and many voluntary organisations. He was Mayor of Limerick on five occasions, a member of Limerick City Council for 36 years, a member of Limerick Harbour Commissioners for 51 years, 26 as chairman, and served as both a Deputy and as a Senator for Limerick.
No event took place in which he was not a dynamic, wise and willing participant. His contribution to business was immense, not just for his family firms, the National Bakery, Dan O’Connor Limited and National Rusks but also as a Senator of considerable esteem on the Industrial and Commercial Panel and as a director and president of Limerick racecourse. He was chairman of Silvermines Lead and Zinc plc, Arran Energy, Limerick Dairies, Limerick Meat Packers and SVS Shipping. He was a director of Shield Insurance, Limerick Clothing Company, Ferenka Limited and the Limerick Savings Bank.
Ted Russell excelled as a sportsman. Having been educated at Stonyhurst he made the school first XV. He captained Bohemians in 1935 and 1936. He played for Munster in 1936, 1937 and 1938 in which year he got a final trial for Ireland. At Stonyhurst he was a champion athlete and very proud of the three silver cups he won in the school of sports in his final year. As a young man, he hunted with the Limerick Harriers.
This catalogue of his public life obscures a private man who is remembered so fondly, particularly on the north side of the city. He was a good employer and contributed and worked extensively with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. He also contributed to helping the poor in the course of his work in City Hall. He was a kind benefactor who donated part of his property at Barrington’s Pier to the people.
He married Derry Gleeson in 1939 and was the loving father of Mary, Margaret, George and Derry. I remember him as a Senator during the  course of the by-election in 1975 and had irregular contact with him since. I always found him to be a man of true observation of the quality of Irish life, a person of great esteem and somebody who was very proud to have contributed to the working of these Houses and the building of a stronger democracy. He was very proud of his country and native city. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
The Taoiseach: I extend my deepest sympathy to Deputy Kenny and the Fine Gael Party on the death of Mr. Ted Russell who was born in 1912 and educated at Crescent College, Limerick; Mount St. Benedict’s College, Gorey and Stonyhurst College, Blackburn, England. His business interests which were extensive included Dan O’Connor Limited and National Rusks. He was also chairman of Silvermines Lead and Zinc plc and Eagle Star insurance company. As Deputy Kenny stated, he was well known for his charitable works across a range of areas. Those who knew him well from my side said he was extremely helpful and generous in supporting many charities.
Ted Russell was elected to Limerick City Council in 1942 and served until 1979. He was mayor of Limerick on five occasions. He was a Clann na Poblachta candidate in the 1948 and 1951 general elections and in a by-election in 1952. He was elected as an Independent Deputy for Limerick East in 1957 to 1961. He contested the 1961 general election as an Independent candidate and the 1965 and 1973 general elections as a Fine Gael candidate. He was a member of the Seanad from 1969 to 1977.
We remember Ted Russell today for his contribution to public life over that long period, both at local level and in the Houses of the Oireachtas. He had a long and distinguished career of working for the people and his parties. One of his fondest memories of public life which he often recounted was his trip as mayor to the United States to collect funds for the memorial on Sarsfield Bridge. Accompanied by his wife, Derry, he travelled to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington and Chicago where he presented each of the mayors with an authentic Limerick ham.
Ted Russell was also chairman of Limerick Harbour Commissioners for 26 years and a member of the Mid-Western Health Board from 1971 to 1979. He was a lifelong member and former president of Bohemians RFC. In 1995 he received the freedom of Limerick city and in 2002 was conferred with an honorary doctorate of economic science from the University of Limerick. I join Deputy Kenny and Members of the House in extending our sympathy to his wife, Derry, his children and other family members. I also extend the sympathies of the Fianna Fáil Party to his family. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
Mr. Rabbitte Mr. Rabbitte
 Mr. Rabbitte: I join the Taoiseach in offering to Deputy Kenny and the Fine Gael Party and the family of the late Ted Russell my condolences and those of the Labour Party. Although I did not know Ted Russell as a Member of this House, I did meet him. I was aware of his respected contribution to public affairs and the high reputation he had as a businessman, sportsman and a member of Limerick Harbour Commissioners, concerned as he was with Limerick Harbour for so long.
As a Senator, he was regarded by colleagues on all sides as a broad-minded and concerned contributor, tolerant of the point of view of others, whose particular hallmark was the courtesy he demonstrated to others. On behalf of the Labour Party, I offer my sincere sympathies to his family.
Mr. T. O’Malley Mr. T. O’Malley
Mr. T. O’Malley: On my own behalf and that of the Progressive Democrats, I commiserate with the Russell family. I had the privilege of knowing Dr. Ted Russell over many years. When Ted was a member of Clann na Poblachta many years ago, my late uncle, Paddy Hourigan, was one of his staunchest allies and supporters. He was also an Independent Deputy for many years but he spent most of his time in Fine Gael and gave sterling service to that party. He gave fantastic service to Limerick city and to the country. He was always a gentleman and it was always pleasure to meet him at any civil or sporting function in any walk of life. For many years he was a very distinguished rugby player and was possibly the strongest and best supporter of Bohemians Rugby Club. I also know that he was an extremely charitable man; no one knew the bounds of his generosity towards less well-off people in Limerick. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
Mr. Sargent Mr. Sargent
Mr. Sargent: Thar cheann an Chomhaontais Ghlais, ba maith liomsa, i dteannta leis an Taoiseach agus na Teachtaí Rabbitte agus Tim O’Malley, comhbhrón a dhéanamh leis an Teachta Kenny agus le Fine Gael ar bhás Dr. Ted Russell.
Dr. Russell preceded the time of the Green Party in this House but he has a reputation which is known far and wide. We are all aware of the high esteem in which he is held, having excelled in the fields of sport and in politics as a member of Fine Gael for many years. In Limerick, many people will associate him with his involvement with his local community, which is an example to many. While he was known far and wide, he was best known in his own community, which is a credit to him. He will be fondly remembered as someone who was more a doer than a talker and as one who got things done. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Ba mhaith liom mo chomhbhrón a ghabháil do chlann an iar-Theachta Ted Russell, ar mo shon féin agus ar  son an phairtí Sinn Féin. I wish to associate with the words of sympathy to the family of the late Ted Russell, a former Member of the Dáil and Seanad, and extend our sympathy to his grieving family at this time.
Mr. Noonan Mr. Noonan
Mr. Noonan: I wish to be associated with the tributes paid to Ted Russell. He would have appreciated them because he was the quintessential public man and held every office it was possible to hold in Limerick city. He was very well liked and respected in business, which has been mentioned in the House this morning.
As the Taoiseach stated, he stood first as a candidate for Clann na Poblachta. It may interest the House to know that when Dr. Noel Browne, as Minister for Health, was conducting his campaign to eradicate TB, he was also conscious of the ravages of cancer on the country and appointed Ted Russell as chairman of a new association, the Irish Cancer Association, to which position he was re-appointed by another Minister for Health, Dr. Jim Ryan. It was that organisation which drew up the plans for St. Luke’s Hospital and put in place the first centre for cancer in Ireland. He was very proud of that achievement and when the cancer strategy was published during my time as Minister for Health, he was extremely interested in it and discussed it with me while referring back to Dr. Noel Browne’s initiative. I offer my personal sympathy to his wife, Derry Gleeson, a Tipperary woman whom the Hanafin family knows well, and also to his adult daughters Mary, Margaret and Derry and his son George.
Mr. P. Power Mr. P. Power
Mr. P. Power: I join in the expressions of sympathy and tributes to the late Ted Russell. First and foremost, Ted Russell was a neighbour and friend of mine. He gave six decades of outstanding service to the people of Limerick and the city he loved so well. He was alderman in ward 1 in Limerick city and, when I succeeded him as alderman in the same ward, I thought it one of the greatest honours to succeed a man who gave such outstanding service. I cannot add to the list of achievements which has been set out before the House other than to say that he supported and played for Bohemians Rugby Club. Moreover, he played in the first rugby match in Thomond Park after it was built in 1938, a fact of which he was very proud. He was also extremely proud of the fact that the city which he loved so well honoured him by making him a freeman a number of years ago. I was very happy to be a member of Limerick City Council when that proposal was made. He was a neighbour, a true friend and a great servant to the people of Limerick.
Ms O’Sullivan Ms O’Sullivan
Ms O’Sullivan: I join in tributes to the late Ted Russell for his very long and distinguished public life. My memory of him is his deep and sustained commitment to public life and particularly to Limerick city. I was a member of Limerick City Council for a number of years during which Ted Russell turned up to practically every public and  civic event, particularly the mayoral elections each year. He was consistently supportive of everything that went on in the city. His charitable works have been referred to, which are a fact. As referred to by my party leader, his commitment to the port of Limerick and to developing the possibilities of transport through the Shannon Estuary will be a life-long monument to the work of Ted Russell.
Dáil Éireann 594 Expressions of Sympathy.