Business of Seanad.

Tuesday, 2 July 1985

Seanad Eireann Debate
Vol. 108 No. 12

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An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  I have notice from Senators Michael Ferris and Willie Ryan, that on the motion for the Adjournment of the House today, they propose to raise the following matter:

The urgent need for the Minister for Industry, Trade, Commerce and Tourism to have the proposed takeover of Clonmel Foods Ltd. investigated under the Mergers, Take-overs and Monopolies (Control) Act, 1978.

I regret that I have to rule that this matter is not suitable for discussion on the Adjournment on the ground that the Minister has no official responsibility under the Mergers, Take-overs and Monopolies (Control) Act, 1978 as the enterprise in question is no longer trading.

Mr. Ferris: Information on Michael Ferris  Zoom on Michael Ferris  I want to thank you for considering this motion on the Adjournment. I abide by the Chair's ruling. But it was because of the last words used in your decision that I wanted to raise it. It does not come under the Mergers, Take-overs and Monopolies (Control) Act, 1978, as the enterprise is no longer trading. The reason it is no longer trading is [1236] because of the monopoly situation that has arisen. The people who have acquired the factory have, because of their monopoly, refused to continue trading and have——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  I would like you to accept my ruling. I sent a detailed letter to you and to Senator Willie Ryan explaining the reasons why this matter cannot be debated.

Mr. Ferris: Information on Michael Ferris  Zoom on Michael Ferris  I appreciate that, but 120 people have lost their jobs. There are cattle supplies available. There is £1/4 million of grant-aided machinery in the factory——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  As Deputy Leader of the House, I wish you to accept my decision and resume your seat.

Mr. Ferris: Information on Michael Ferris  Zoom on Michael Ferris  I hope the situation will be sorted out in the near future. It is important that the people who have acquired the factory would know of our concern in this matter.

Mr. W. Ryan: Information on William Ryan  Zoom on William Ryan  I have no intention of disputing the Chair's decision. Like Senator Ferris, I am sorry that the matter could not be discussed because it is such an important matter concerning the whole of south Tipperary.

Mr. Lennon: Information on Joseph Lennon  Zoom on Joseph Lennon  I would like to express my sympathy to the widow and family of Sergeant Morrissey who was killed in my constituency, in my county, within the past week. I can only say that many of my constituents asked me to raise this matter at the first opportunity — and I know you will allow me to do it — because of the fact that this murder took place in my constituency. It took place perhaps no further than one mile away.

It is a murder that shocked the whole of Ireland but particularly the people in the area I represent. We are very saddened to think that this can happen and is happening in this country today, that a garda in the course of his duty should be killed in such a dreadful way. On behalf of the people I represent I would like to [1237] express my sincere sympathy to his widow and family.

This man, in the course of his duty, did a wonderful job and unfortunately today he is a dead hero. His courage in following up these killers — and I can call them nothing else — to try to catch them in fact is something which all of us must admire. It is sad to think that there are such violent people in our midst at the moment. If I might add a rider to that, I think in the case of some of the people who carry out these deeds it is often not their first offence. It is also sad to think — and this is the position at the moment — that these things are done at times before they are put behind bars. I feel it behoves all of us at this moment and every right-thinking person in this country to give the utmost co-operation to the Garda so as to rid society of this type of people. I want in conclusion to express again my sincere sympathy to the widow and family and indeed my sincere thanks to the Garda and the Army for doing such an excellent job in catching these people. It is only right and proper that we should congratulate them on the excellent job they have done and I hope they continue to catch many more miscreants and rid us of them altogether.

Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  I would like on my own behalf and on behalf of the people on this side of the House to join with Senator Lennon in extending a vote of sympathy, not alone to the family of Sergeant Morrissey but indeed to the Garda as a whole. Sergeant Morrissey was not unknown to the people of Kilkenny because as a member of the sub-aqua club he came to Kilkenny on many occasions. His wife's sister is married to our county manager in Kilkenny. So, the tragedy came close enough to the people of Kilkenny to make them feel as the people all over the country feel about this terrible tragedy and the utter callousness of the people who perpetrated it. They showed absolutely no sign of human feelings. They did not give this man any chance at all. It was one of the most horrific crimes that has been perpetrated in this country and [1238] there have been many horrific crimes perpetrated.

The unfortunate part about it is that since this crime was committed there is a reaction around this country which would have capital punishment reintroduced. There is a definite feeling throughout the country that there is a need to bring back capital punishment. If these people think that by doing callous deeds the people of this country will in some way feel for them, I believe they are absolutely mistaken. I sincerely hope that the full rigours of the law as it is will be brought to bear on these people. Again, I would just like to extend, with Senator Lennon, the sympathy of this side of the House to the family of Sergeant Morrissey and, indeed, to the Garda.

Mr. Ferris: Information on Michael Ferris  Zoom on Michael Ferris  On behalf of the Labour Party I want to join in the vote of sympathy to the widow and family of the late Sergeant Morrissey as proposed by our colleague, Senator Lennon, from that constituency. We have had in the past the tragedy of members of the security forces and the Defence Forces being killed in the course of their duty. On this occasion, from what we have read of it and as Senator Lanigan said it was obviously a very deliberate killing of a person in the course of his duty. It could have been a case of injury or something else which would be bad enough but this obviously, from what we have read, was a deliberate effort to take the life of an unarmed man who had shown himself courageous in the past and, indeed, was courageous enough on that day to try to save public property in all our interests. It would be a pity if there should be a backlash from people who might consider that capital punishment is the answer. The reality is that there is at the moment the death penalty for capital murder, which this is. Obviously that did not dissuade this criminal from taking a life and it is a tragedy that people north and south of the Border nowadays seem to have no regard whatsoever for human life. It is a tragedy for the Garda force and for the widow and young family and, on behalf [1239] of our party, I want to extend to them our heartfelt sympathy.

Mr. Ross: Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  I would like to join with my colleagues in passing a vote of sympathy to the wife and family of the garda who was killed last week. It is a timely reminder to us that the Garda, who so often come in for so much abuse from various sources in our society, are doing a difficult job and in the course of that job some of them will lose their lives. It is an unfortunate reminder that this is part of the role which they play in society.

I would like to say that it is a pity that Senator Lanigan introduced a divisive element into this. I do not think it is the time for us to call hysterically for capital punishment because reacting to one event is not the right way to call for a new policy. Capital punishment, unfortunately, is on the books but a sudden reaction to a tragedy of this sort is absolutely wrong.

Mr. Ellis: Information on John Ellis  Zoom on John Ellis  I would also like to be associated with this expression of sympathy. I know members of Sergeant Morrissey's family very well. One of the gardaí who accompanied him on that Thurday morning was a former school friend of mine. This brings home to us all the job that the Garda have to do at present. We, as legislators, must now look at how we can protect them if they are to be protected from the type of incident that took place last week. As legislators, we are bound to re-examine the law to see what can be done to provide better protection for gardaí for their families.

Mrs. Rogers: Information on Brid Rodgers  Zoom on Brid Rodgers  I would like to associate myself on behalf of those whom I represent in Northern Ireland with the remarks that have been made with regard to the murder of Sergeant Morrissey. I think we should call these things by their name, murder. It is murder and we have had far too much of it in Ireland, North and South, over the last 15 years.

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