McDaid tells of his fight to revive Kieran
FIANNA Fail TD Dr Jim McDaid has spoken of his attempts to revive a party colleague who collapsed and died at a Dublin Hotel.
Dr McDaid was staying at the same hotel as Laois senator Kieran Phelan when he suffered a suspected heart attack.
Mr Phelan (60), a father of five, has been a senator since 2002 and a member of Laois County Council for 12 years.
He hailed from Donaghmore, outside Portlaoise, Co Laois and also worked as a farmer and auctioneer.
Mr Phelan collapsed and died at breakfast yesterday morning in the Grand Canal Hotel near Lansdowne Road.
He was sitting with party colleagues Senator Diarmuid Wilson and junior minister Dara Calleary.
It was Mr Calleary who alerted Dr McDaid about Mr Phelan's condition when he suddenly fell ill and collapsed.
Mr McDaid was in his hotel room listening to the radio when he got the panicked phone call from Mr Calleary.
He ran down the stairs and began to administer treatment straight away until the ambulance arrived but it was too late and Mr Phelan had died.
Dr McDaid spoke of his anguish at losing his close friend in such tragic circumstances.
"A group of us stay at the same hotel and we always have the same table at breakfast. It's a shock to everybody. It's not the first time I've been in that situation. But this was the closest I have ever been to somebody. It is a shock," he said.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen said his death would be mourned across political life.
"Kieran Phelan was an unassuming gentleman. He was kind, he was easy-going, he was dependable and he was loyal to his friends," he said. "He had a real ability to relate to people and had a keen political sense. He had a strong sense of humour and a strong work ethic."
Mr Cowen extended his sympathies to Mr Phelan's wife Mary and his five children, Fiona, Martina, Brenda, Aisling and Patrick.
Green Party leader John Gormley also paid tribute to the senator, who he said was a very popular colleague with members of all parties and was known as a dedicated public representative both in the Seanad and in previous years as a member of Laois County Council.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said he lamented the tragic and shocking circumstances death of Mr Phelan. He said the senator was respected by the agricultural community and represented his constituency in an able and competent way.
The leader of the Seanad, FF senator Donie Cassidy, said Mr Phelan was "a true gentleman and a great senator".