Election of Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

Tuesday, 23 March 1982

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 333 No. 2

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Minister of State of the Department of the Taoiseach (Mr. B. Ahern): Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I propose that Deputy Tunney be appointed Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I propose that Deputy Harte be elected Leas-Cheann Comhairle. Deputy Harte has been a Member [160] of this House for more than 20 years and he has the respect of all sides of the House. He is known for his non-partisan approach and for his concern for national rather than party interests. At times this has been demonstrated almost to the temporary embarrassemnt of the party to which he belongs. Deputy Harte would make an excellent Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

I would remind the House of the precedent set on the last occasion, some seven months ago, when the present Taoiseach proposed that the Leas-Cheann Comhairle should come from the Opposition. I hope that the Independents will take account of that precedent today and will consider it appropriate that the Leas-Cheann Comhairle should be a representative of the Opposition especially since we are putting forward such a very experienced Member of the House.

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  I second the nomination of Deputy Harte. Has the Fianna Fáil nominee been seconded?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  It is not necessary to do so.

The Tánaiste: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  It is unanimous.

Mr. McMahon: Information on Lawrence McMahon  Zoom on Lawrence McMahon  Is the Minister sure of that? Perhaps he should look behind him.

Question put: “That Deputy Tunney be appointed Leas-Cheann Comhairle.”

Ahern, Bertie.
Ahern, Michael.
Allen, Lorcan.
Andrews, David.
Andrews, Niall.
Aylward, Liam.
Barrett, Michael.
Barrett, Sylvester.
Bellew, Tom.
Blaney, Neil T.
Brady, Gerard.
(Dublin South-East) [161]Calleary, Seán.!Lawlor, Liam.
Colley, George.
Conaghan, Hugh.
Connolly, Ger.
Coughlan, Clement.
Cowen, Bernard.
Daly, Brendan.
Doherty, Seán.
Ellis, John.
Fahey, Francis.
Fahey, Jackie.
Faulkner, Pádraig.
Filgate, Eddie.
Fitzgerald, Gene.
Fitzpatrick, Tom. (Dublin South-Central).
Fitzsimons, Jim.
Flynn, Pádraig.
Foley, Denis.
French, Seán.
Gallagher, Denis.
Gallagher, Pat Cope.
Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
Gibbons, Jim.
Harney, Mary.
Haughey, Charles J.
Hilliard, Colm.
Hyland, Liam.
Keegan, Seán.
Kitt, Michael P.
Brady, Gerry.
(Kildare)
Brady, Vincent.
Brennan, Matty.
Brennan, Ned.
Brennan, Seamus.
Briscoe, Ben.
Browne, Seán.
Burke, Raphael P.
Byrne, Hugh.
Byrne, Seán.
Callanan, John. [162]Lawlor, Liam.
Leonard, Jimmy.
Leyden, Terry.
Loughnane, Bill.
Lynch, Michael.
Lyons, Denis.
McCarthy, Seán.
McCreevy, Charlie.
McEllistrim, Tom.
MacSharry, Ray.
Meaney, Tom.
Molloy, Robert.
Morley, P.J.
Murphy, Ciarán P.
Noonan, Michael J. (Limerick West).
O'Dea, William G.
O'Donoghue, Martin.
O'Hanlon, Rory.
O'Kennedy, Michael.
O'Leary, John.
O'Malley, Desmond.
Power, Paddy.
Reynolds, Albert.
Tunney, Jim.
Walsh, Joe.
Walsh, Seán.
Wilson, John P.
Woods, Michael.
Wyse, Pearse.

Allen, Bernard.
Barrett, Seán.
Barry, Myra.
Barry, Peter.
Begley, Michael.
Bermingham, Joe.
Birmingham, George.
Boland, John.
Bruton, John.
Bruton, Richard.
Burke, Dick.
Burke, Liam.
Carey, Donal.
Cluskey, Frank.
Collins, Edward.
Conlon, John F.
Connaughton, Paul.
Cooney, Patrick M.
Corr, James.
Cosgrave, Liam T.
Cosgrave, Michael J.
Creed, Donal.
Crotty, Kieran.
Crowley, Frank.
D'Arcy Michael J.
Deasy, Martin A.
De Rossa, Proinsias.
Desmond, Barry.
Desmond, Eileen.
Donnellan, John.
Dukes, Alan.
Enright, Thomas W. [163]O'Brien, William.
O'Donnell, Tom.
O'Keeffe, Jim.
O'Leary, Michael.
O'Sullivan, Toddy.
O'Toole, Paddy.
Owen, Nora.
Pattison, Séamus.
Quinn, Ruairí.
Farrelly, John V.
Fennell, Nuala.
FitzGerald, Alexis.
FitzGerald, Garret.
Fitzpatrick, Tom. (Cavan-Monaghan).
Flaherty, Mary.
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Fleming, Brian.
Gallagher, Paddy.
Governey, Des.
Griffin, Brendan.
Harte, Patrick D.
Higgins, Michael D.
Hussey, Gemma.
Kavanagh, Liam.
Keating, Michael.
Kelly, John.
Kemmy, Jim.
Kenny, Enda.
McGinley, Denis.
McMahon, Larry.
Manning, Maurice.
Markey, Bernard.
Mitchell, Gay.
Mitchell, Jim.
Molony, David.
Moynihan, Michael.
Naughten, Liam.
Nealon, Ted.
Noonan, Michael. (Limerick East). [164]Ryan, John J.
Shatter, Alan.
Sheehan, Patrick J.
Sherlock, Joe.
Spring, Dick.
Taylor, Mervyn.
Timmins, Godfrey.
Treacy, Seán.
Yates, Ivan.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  A Cheann Comhairle, on a point of order, recalling what the Taoiseach said on the last occasion when the same thing happened, he drew to your attention that the same procedure outlined in Standing Orders applicable to the election of the Ceann Comhairle applied to the election of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, namely, that in the event of there being an equality of votes, the question should be decided in the negative, but you replied to him that you did not require that advice, and you decided in the interests of fair play in the House that you would cast your vote against. I take it that you will do the same thing on this occasion.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  I will now take my decision myself and give my casting vote in favour of Deputy Tunney. Accordingly the figures are 81:80.

Question declared carried.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  I want the House to know that, if the House thinks I am not acting impartially, any Member of the House is at liberty to move a motion of censure against me.

Mr. O'Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  By their deeds you shall know them.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  By my deeds you will know me. Item No. 4: motion in relation to the sittings of the Dáil on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Taoiseach to move the motion.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  A Cheann Comhairle, on a point of order——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  I am on the next business Deputy Harte.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  I wish to extend to the Deputy the courtesy of my good wishes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  By all means, Deputy Harte.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  In the extraordinary result of the vote just taken to elect a Leas-Cheann Comhairle I want to offer my personal congratulations to Deputy Tunney. Deputy Tunney has been a Member of this House for many years. For all of those years he and I have been on personal friendly terms. He is a man for whom I have had the utmost respect. On many occasions when the former Taoiseach was seeking advice and guidance on the types of Deputies who should be around him to advise him on North/South relations, he was one of the people I had in mind and often suggested his name to the former Taoiseach. Our friendship goes back for that number of years. I take this opportunity to wish him well in the office to which he has now been appointed. However, I must say also that in the extraordinary decision of the Chair to cast his vote on this occasion for Deputy Tunney, when on the previous occasion he cast his vote against me, it is very difficult for me, a Cheann Comhairle, to accept such a rationale from you.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Deputy Harte, I am afraid you cannot question that I have the right to cast a casting vote.

(Interruptions.)

[165]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Deputy Harte to continue, please.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  What I have to say from now on has no bearing on Deputy Tunney. I want to say this, that when the present Taoiseach, as Leader of the Opposition, was speaking on the previous occasion on the appointment of a Leas-Cheann Comhairle here in the House he mentioned that if the Government had confidence in the Chair then the Opposition were entitled to have confidence in the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. I do not know what confidence the present Government have in the occupant of the Chair at present but my human nature would be stretched to a capacity far beyond its control were I expected to have confidence in you, a Cheann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  That is your prerogative.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  Not alone that, but you and I also have been friends for many years. On the previous occasion I said that your decision was a correct one and I still say it was a correct one. But if it was correct the last day, it is extremely wrong today.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  I want to assure the Deputy that the Government did not propose me for election to the Chair. The present Government did not propose me for the Chair.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Even worse, Deputy Blaney did.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  As an Independent he did.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  On that particular point——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Sorry, Deputy, this does not call for a debate.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  On that particular point I want to say that as Deputy Blaney is now accepting the Fianna Fáil Whip, then you were proposed by the Government. That [166] is not what I want to put on the record, Sir. My confidence in you has been shaken——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  I am sorry, Deputy Harte but——

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  ——not today, a Cheann Comhairle, and I have told Deputies of this House about it. I want to conclude by——

Mr. Wilson: Information on John P. Wilson  Zoom on John P. Wilson  Getting prompting notes from Deputies across the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Deputy Harte to continue.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  Sir, I want to say that my confidence in you has not been shaken today. I have said this quite deliberately. I have spoken to my wife about it because she knows how close a friendship we had. My confidence in you was shaken on the day of the election of the Taoiseach. I want to put this on the record of the House — on my personal record of being twenty years in the House — when I approached the Chair on the day of the election of the Taoiseach to congratulate you, Sir, on being re-elected as Ceann Comhairle I heard Deputy Brian Lenihan, the present Minister for Agriculture, say to you: thanks, John, for calling us first, it helped us along the way.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Deputy Harte was indeed entitled to say that, and I just want to——

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  That, Sir, is what shook my confidence in you and therefore your decision today does not in effect shock me.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Thank you, Deputy Harte.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  I want to conclude by thanking members of Sinn Féin The Workers' Party for voting for me, members of the Labour Party for voting for me——

[167]Mr. Begley: Information on Michael Begley  Zoom on Michael Begley  And Deputy Kemmy.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  ——and Deputy Kemmy, of course.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Deputy Harte, I have extended you a little latitude in dealing with——

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  I just want to say that I have no hard feelings for Tony Gregory. I said to him that in all probability he was not voting and that our relationship would not be any different afterwards. My thanks to all Deputies who voted for me.

My final remark is this: to the Taoiseach who expects fair play in this House, this man who now beams the radiation of fair play and honesty, from someone who has tried to understand his position, who argued so strenuously on the previous occasion that his nominee should be the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, I shall take with a pinch of salt anything that you say from now on, Charlie.

Mr. Tunney: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a chur in iúl don Teach faoi mé a cheapadh mar Leas-Cheann Comhairle don dara uair taobh istigh de bhliain amháin. Is mór liom mar onóir é agus ní beag liom mar dhualgas é an méid atá le déanamh agam. Cuirim os comhair an Tí go ndéanfaidh mé mo dhícheall na dual-gaisí sin a chomhlíonadh i gcaoi nach mbeidh aiféala ná díomá ar Paddy Harte, ar an Teachta Mac Gearailt ná na huaisle eile anseo ar mo chlé gur cheapadh mé mar Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

A Cheann Comhairle, it is personally somewhat dreamlike that within one year I should have the honour and privilege of standing here and, through you, conveying my thanks to the House for having elected me as Leas-Cheann Comhairle and for having the opportunity, too, of commiserating with my colleague, Deputy Harte, that the honour has escaped him once again. Additionally, I wish to reiterate my resolve that for the duration of my term of office as Leas-Cheann Comhairle I will carry out to the [168] letter and to the spirit what is embodied in our Standing Orders so that the purpose and functions of this House will be performed in accordance with its dictates and with the wishes of the people of Ireland.

Finally, I resort to our own language again, which for me encapsules better than any other language the manner in which I should restate my thanks and my thoughts. To all Members of the House I say “Go mbeirimid go léir beo ar an am seo arís”.


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