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Andrew Swan, MLA Minto
March 1, 2016

"Raising a Glass" for Aidan O'Brien

Mr. Speaker, Manitoba lost a great man when Aidan O'Brien passed away late last year at the age of 73. Aidan O'Brien had a commanding presence, matched only by his incredible record of service to the people of Manitoba.

Aidan was the president and CEO of Manitoba Blue Cross for many years. He served as the superintendent of pensions for the Province of Manitoba, as the chair of the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, as the president of Pine Ridge Golf Club and as the president of the Winnipeg Fury Soccer Club. He served on the boards of the Manitoba Theatre Centre, Venture Manitoba and the Winnipeg Police Commission. He received the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.

Aidan was fiercely proud of Manitoba and of his Irish roots. He was the founding president and the driving force behind the Irish Association of Manitoba. Aidan founded the association in 1972. In so doing, he brought together Irish immigrants regardless of their religious, geographical and political backgrounds to form a family here in Canada. The association, located on Erin Street in the West End, carries on today, guided by these founding principles.

He was the founding artistic director of the Tara Players Theatre Company and the co- founder of the Acting Irish International Theatre Festival. As president of the Folk Arts Council, he made friends from every ethnic community in Manitoba and celebrated our diversity. Aidan served as the honorary Irish consul to the Province of Manitoba.

Aidan is survived by his loving wife Betty Lou Burke and his four children and their families.

Two minutes is not enough time to even scratch the surface of the legend of Aidan O'Brien. Aidan's greatest accomplishment was how he touched and influenced so many different lives in our province. For all of his good works known to the public, there were many more known only to the people he helped.

If the House rules allowed it, Mr. Speaker, I would ask all of my colleagues to raise a glass in Aidan O'Brien's memory. As it is, I ask simply that we reflect on how lucky we are that Aidan O'Brien chose to make Manitoba his home.