Election of Ceann Comhairle.

Tuesday, 9 March 1982

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 333 No. 1

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Cléireach na Dála: Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Dé réir na mBuan Orduithe, is é an chéad ghnó eile ná Ceann Comhairle a thoghadh. Glacfaidh mé anois le tairiscintí. In accordance with Standing Orders, the next business is the election of a Ceann Comhairle, and I shall now receive motions.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  I wish to move that Deputy John O'Connell be elected as Ceann Comhairle. I have great pleasure in making this proposal and I do so sided by the longest serving Member in this House, Deputy Flanagan. I think I can claim the privilege of being the second longest serving Member. I have known Deputy O'Connell since his election here in 1965. He has served with distinction as spokesman, backbencher and in the past eight months as Ceann Comhairle. His experience is undoubted and known to all of us. His knowledge of the rules of the House, it goes without saying, is fully known and has been practised by him over a long number of years. Not only that but he has been a member of Dublin Corporation; he has the distinction of being a member of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union for many years, is a member of the Irish Medical Association and a member of the NUJ. His experience over the past eight months is the most telling reason why we should elect Deputy O'Connell today. Above and beyond that, I believe from my knowledge of Deputy O'Connell not only in this House but in his years in the European Parliament, to which he was elected in 1979, that he has a commitment, particularly on his occupancy of the Chair of the House, to the rights of Members beyond the constrictions of Standing Orders. In a Ceann Comhairle this is a very good thing. I see Deputy FitzGerald smiling and I am sure he is thinking to himself that perhaps he benefits most from it. Whether that is so or not I say to the newcomers to the House and those elected recently for the first time that a Ceann Comhairle who keeps his eye on the rule book but is not totally constrained by it can make the House a more meaningful place particularly to those who do not have long experience in it.

The other thing I am satisfied about is that Deputy O'Connell is imbued with the idea that it is time that we had many Dáil reforms. This is something I and many other Members would like to see. I hope, if he is accepted by the House today, that he as a Member of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, and others who feel likewise might give the House a little more meaning than it tended to have in recent times. It is time there was more freedom for those who are not in major parties to have their say and let off steam. Sometimes bottling it up does not make for the best of order in the House. Perhaps our rules do need to be changed.

I commend to the House a man who in my estimation is excellently suited and experienced, with adequate knowledge and the temperament to do an excellent job as Ceann Comhairle. I again move that Deputy O'Connell be our Ceann Comhairle.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I second that motion not just formally but warmly and endorse what Deputy Blaney has said.

[17]Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I too gladly subscribe to the proposal made by Deputy Blaney and wholeheartedly recommend Dr. O'Connell as a Member eminently suited to be our Ceann Comhairle in the 23rd Dáil.

Cléireach na Dála:  Tá mé ag cur na ceiste go dtoghfar an Teachta Seán Ó Conaill agus go rachaidh sé i gceannas na Dála anois mar Cheann Comhairle. I am putting the question that Deputy John O'Connell be elected and do now take the Chair of the Dáil as Ceann Comhairle.

Question put and agreed to.

Cléireach na Dála:  Iarraim anois ar an Teachta Seán Ó Conaill, Comhalta do Dháil Ceantar Baile Átha Cliath Theas-Lár, dul i gceannas an 23ú Dáil Éireann. I now call on Deputy John O'Connell, Member for the Constituency of Dublin South-Central, to take the Chair of this 23rd Dáil Éireann.

Whereupon Members rose in their places and remained standing while the Ceann Comhairle proceeded to the Dais.

Standing beside the Chair, the Ceann Comhairle, addressing the Dáil said:

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  I consider it a very high honour indeed to be elected once again unanimously as Ceann Comhairle and I am most grateful to you all for this. My aim will continue to be to carry out the work of the Chair with complete impartiality and to give full expression to all Members consistent with order and the due business of the House. I realise it is impossible to carry out the work of this office without the full co-operation of all Members but I feel I have only to ask you for this, as I have done now, and it will be readily given. I should like to thank you for the trust you have placed in me and I promise you faithfully I will carry it out to the best of my ability. Tá mé fíor-bhuíoch díobh agus guím rath Dé oraibh go léir san Dáil nua seo.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  As the longest-serving Deputy and by no means the oldest [18]— I say this for the information of the media — I extend to you the warm, sincere and customary good wishes of the long-serving Members and the new Members who have come here. May I ask you to repeat the undertaking which you so kindly and courageously gave on the opening of the last Dáil that, as you are the custodian of order in the House and also the custodian of the rights and privileges of all Members of this House, you will not be in any way influenced by Party Whips or by members of the Government in selecting and calling on speakers to address the House. Every Member has rights and privileges. I know that as Ceann Comhairle you have been very fair but will you please reassure the House that while you occupy that exalted position you will see to it that every single Member of the House gets a fair hearing within the rules of order of the House?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  You have my assurance, as has everyone of you, that I will give maximum freedom of expression to all Members. I will protect the rights of Members in the House.

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