Order of Business.

Wednesday, 24 May 1989

Seanad Éireann Debate
Vol. 122 No. 19

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Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  It is intended to take item No. 1 today.

Mr. Manning: Information on Maurice Manning  Zoom on Maurice Manning  Perhaps the Leader of the House could explain why we are not taking item No. 2.

May I use this occasion to say I have learned with sadness the decision of Senator Robinson not to contest the next election. May I simply place on record the view of this side of the House that we are losing a very distinguished Senator, a great reforming Senator, one of the most conscientious of people in dealing with legislation and Irish public life will be very much the poorer for her leaving us.

Mr. Robb: Information on John DA Robb  Zoom on John DA Robb  May I add my voice to what the Leader of the Opposition has said because I can assure you that there are very few people, TDs or Senators, more talked about in Northern Ireland especially among the Unionist and Loyalist communities, than Senator Mary Robinson, particularly for her liberal and reasonable views. I would like to support what Senator Manning has said.

Mr. Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  I would like to join in this expression of sentiment of high regard for my colleague, Senator Mary Robinson, who is an old friend of mine and colleague, post- and under-graduate, and subsequently in the university. I have cause to be very grateful for her legal expertise, as I think this Chamber has in a number of the debates which I have had the privilege of attending. I am very happy to join with this expression of regard from the House to a very distinguished Senator.

On the Order of Business, I would like to ask the Leader of the House if there will be any response today to the strong suggestions made in the judgment of Mr. Liam Hamilton that both Houses of the Oireachtas have failed in their constitutional responsibilities because it [1995] seems to me that this House ought immediately to respond to that. I hope there will be some statement forthcoming.

Professor Murphy: Information on John A Murphy  Zoom on John A Murphy  I would like to add my appreciation of Senator Robinson's service in this House and to do so from a fraternal university. It must be nice for her to listen to these laudatory sentiments while she is still alive.

I would like to ask the Leader of the House why Item No. 2 is not being ordered as expected and, in the unlikely eventuality of Dáil Éireann being dissolved would indicate whether this House is likely to sit very long thereafter?

Mr. Mulroy: Information on Jimmy Mulroy  Zoom on Jimmy Mulroy  Yesterday was a very special day for Drogheda with the announcement that Brother Industries are to establish a high tech industry in the town, employing 388 people. I want to express my disapproval of the RTE coverage last night. They reported on this wonderful news for the town and it was immediately followed by a report on the failure of 800 jobs to materialise in Sligo. The inference was very clear.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  Senator Mulroy, I did not realise we had started an election campaign.

Mr. Mulroy: Information on Jimmy Mulroy  Zoom on Jimmy Mulroy  I want to reassure the people of Drogheda that these jobs will come on stream quickly. As a matter of fact, the advertisements are in the newspapers this week.

Mrs. Bulbulia: Information on Katherine Bulbulia  Zoom on Katherine Bulbulia  I would like to pay tribute to Senator Robinson who has announced she will not be standing as a candidate in the next Seanad election. I echo all the tributes which have been justly and correctly paid to her as a very distinguished Member of this House. I am sure she or indeed nobody else would mind if I drew attention to the fact that she was a distinguished woman Senator——

Mr. Lydon: Information on Don Lydon  Zoom on Don Lydon  That is a sexist remark.

[1996]Mrs. Bulbulia: Information on Katherine Bulbulia  Zoom on Katherine Bulbulia  It is not sexist. It is accurate and factual. Senator Robinson has been a champion and a shining example to all people who wish to see increased representation of people who are women in both Houses of the Oireachtas and in every forum. She has been an exemplar par excellence of that particular very strong feeling in this country. I would like to put that on record and to express my thanks and appreciation to her on behalf of all women, and liberated and thinking men, for the distinctive contribution she has made.

Mr. Ross: Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  I should like to endorse the sentiments behind what Senator Bulbulia said, if not necessarily the emphasis of what she was saying. Senator Robinson has been by my side ever since I came into the Seanad and while some will say I had political mixed feelings about the announcement the other day, I regret first of all the lack of stability which she leaves in the constitutency but also those great causes which she has fought for and for which she shall be missed.

Finally, I should like to ask the Leader of the House — perhaps he will give me an indication before I launch into a tirade — whether item No. 2 was overlooked by mistake. If it was not, I must say I am absolutely amazed at the fact that it is not being ordered today because today is the turn of the Independent Senators to take their motion or Bill in the time allotted to them by agreement with this House for a very long time. Last Friday I was consulted, I was asked to provide the subject matter the Independents were going to take today, as is the norm when it is our time. I gave clear notice to the Government that it was the intention of the Independent Members to take item No. 2 on the Order Paper today and it seems to me this has been moved up to item No. 2 on the Order Paper.

Nobody has given me any indication at any stage since last Friday that it was not intended to take item No. 2 today. It is an outrageous breach of the agreement which all parties in this House have if the Government are intending to deprive the Independent Members of their time. I [1997] am acting in the dark here because the reason for not ordering No. 2 has not been given by the Leader of the House.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  Are you actually moving an amendment to the Order of Business, Senator?

Mr. Ross: Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  I will, if necessary. I move: “That item No. 2 be inserted after item No. 1”.

Mr. Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  I second the amendment.

Mrs. Fennell: Information on Nuala Fennell  Zoom on Nuala Fennell  I would like to note the announcement by Senator Robinson that she is leaving politics. It is very regrettable. She will be sadly missed. I would like to look back a little bit to the courage she showed in years when there were not women politicians. We know that by and large women's issues and general liberal issues have been taken up in the Dáil and the Seanad by women politicians. When there were no women politicians, Senator Robinson gave unstintingly of her time to causes related to women and I know from reading the Seanad debates she faced great hostility in this House over issues like divorce and contraception. I would like to wish her well and to say that for the time she was here she was certainly very effective. She never compromised on her principles and was an excellent role model for women who came after her.

Professor Hillery: Information on Brian J. Hillery  Zoom on Brian J. Hillery  As a liberated and thinking man, I have no difficulty in paying tribute to Senator Robinson. She certainly has had a distinguished career. I recall when she was first elected in 1969 and she has certainly brought objectivity, courage and expertise to her work in the Seanad over that period. She has always set a headline for her commitment and the pride she has taken in the Seanad as a House of the Oireachtas. I wish her well in the future. I think she will certainly be missed but she has left her mark here.

Mr. J. O'Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  May I add my voice to what has already been said about Senator Robinson? I have always been impressed [1998] by the solid, erudite contributions she made to discussions particularly on points of law. In my short time here I have seen Ministers quake in front of her questioning and her probing. As a liberated male also — I thought we were all liberated in this House — I certainly would like to put on record our thanks for two decades of commitment to the work of this House.

On the point that was raised by Senator Ross, it is a clear agreement through the Committee on Procedure and Privileges and by agreement of the Whips that the different groups choose as they will the topics for the Private Members' time. Private Members' time this week is in the name of the Independent group and we chose to use that time to take the Second Stage of the Criminal Justice (Abolition of Death Penalty) Bill. If there has been some change on that from the Government side of the House it certainly has taken place without any consultation or discussion or without anybody being aware of it in any way. It would constitute an amazing change of precedent.

I am speaking at the most moderate of terms because I hope the Leader of the House is going to say there was some mistake in his presentation of the Order of Business for today. I look forward to hearing his correction on that and that Item No. 2 is being taken today. It has always been the case that the different groups use their time as they wish.

As it now appears the other House will be dissolved in a short time, I would like to get a clear commitment from the Leader of the House that there will be no idea of closing down the business of this House in order to accommodate or facilitate people who want to get involved in the election to the lower House.

Secondly, and more importantly, may I make a request to the Cathaoirleach and also to the Leader of the House — I am not sure where the responsibility lies — that in the event of an election the nomination date for the Seanad be the same day or prior to the Dáil election so that we do not have failures from one election taking their place in this one, to give this House dignity and status in the [1999] Oireachtas, to make sure that people commit themselves to this House at the appropriate time. I ask the Cathaoirleach to use her influence to ensure that nominations for this House take place on or before the nominations for the lower House.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  That does not arise because it is governed by legislation. It does not arise on the Order of Business anyway.

Mr. J. O'Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  On a point of order, what I propose is quite within the terms of legislation. I took the trouble of checking it.

Mr. Mooney: Information on Paschal Canice Mooney  Zoom on Paschal Canice Mooney  May I be associated with the remarks of my colleagues on all sides of the House in paying tribute to Senator Robinson. I have been associated with her, albeit in a small way, in one specific area since my election to this House and prior to that. Senator Robinson has throughout her political career championed many causes which some may perceive as being lost causes. I refer specifically to one that is not a lost cause but is a very live one. I hope that despite the ending of her political career in this House she will continue to espouse the cause of the Birmingham Six and the Guilford Four and other Irish prisoners in Britain who have very few voices of the stature of Senator Robinson to shout for them. I compliment the Senator for her stance in the area.

Mr. Loughrey: Information on Joachim A Loughrey  Zoom on Joachim A Loughrey  May I join with the other Senators to compliment Senator Robinson because she was indeed a very able Senator. It is nice that somebody like Senator Robinson can take a decision to voluntarily retire from this House. I would like to put it on the record that I will not be retiring and that I will be a candidate in the next election. May I also reiterate the remarks of Senator O'Toole with regard to the nomination date. It would appear from the Cathaoirleach's remarks when we came back to this Chamber when she tried to influence the [2000] Taoiseach on that day that she did not succeed, judging by what is to happen tomorrow.

Mr. Cassidy: Information on Donie Cassidy  Zoom on Donie Cassidy  I would like to be associated with what previous speakers have said in regard to Senator Mary Robinson. I rise here to congratulate St. Anthony's College in Clara on winning the All-Ireland School of the Year Award. Over 350 schools were in this in the Buy Irish Campaign.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  Senator Cassidy — I see you are sitting down. It is just as well.

Mr. McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  Like my colleagues I would like to wish the very best to Senator Robinson in her retirement at the end of the term of this Seanad. Maybe it is coincidental that another very prominent Mayo politician is retiring also and I would like to take the opportunity of wishing him well. Deputy Denis Gallagher, Minister of State, is a victim of the Fianna Fáil rod licence issue and was one of the people who spoke out very strongly against it.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  Senator McCormack, please.

Mr. McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  I happened to be at a meeting in Ballinrobe the other night and it was very sad to see him having to leave a meeting of his own supporters over his courage on the rod licence issue. I wish him the best of luck. He is one man who spoke out against it in the Fianna Fáil Party.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  Senator McCormack, resume your seat.

Mr. McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  I will indeed. I hope I will be resuming my seat in the new Seanad as well.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  Before I call Senator Lanigan and Senator Robinson I would like, just as Tras Honan, to congratulate and wish Senator Robinson well. It is nice to be able to retire, as she [2001] has decided to do. She influenced and made an impression on me from early on, even though we did not agree on a lot of things. Senator Robinson made an extraordinary contribution to legislation and I think that should be put on record. I want to congratulate her and wish her well.

Mrs. Robinson: Information on Mary Robinson  Zoom on Mary Robinson  I have sat here feeling at once embarrassed and very moved and very touched by the contributions of my colleagues and friends. I did not expect this to happen. I have taken the step not to seek re-election with the most enormous reluctance because I have an extremely high regard and a great respect for this House and a great belief in the importance of the Seanad. It has been clear to me, particularly in recent months, that I am finding it difficult to give this House the 100 per cent commitment which I have always given and which I believe every Senator should give. I have found that the development of the Irish Centre for European Law is taking a great deal of time and preoccupation and it is a major challenge facing this country to prepare for the single market in 1992. Also, the House is aware that the Joint Committee on EC legislation meets on the same day as the Seanad and that has, to some extent, prevented me from being able to make a full commitment to this House. Therefore, very regretfully and aware that it will be an enormous wrench, I decided to make public the fact that I would not be going forward.

I do not know when the election will be and it is my intention between now and then to be a very vigorous and hardworking Member of this House. It is important that particularly a person who is a representative of the University constituency, an Independent in this House, shall have ample time and commitment to raise and take the various initiatives which this House allows and which I think are a very important part of the legislative process.

That brings me away from my personal situation having thanked Members for their kind words, to the business of the [2002] House. I would like to very strongly support Senator Ross and the other movers of Item No. 2. I had understood that this item was being taken. I have it with me and I am prepared to make a contribution on it. I think it is part of the agreement that there would be Private Members' time and how that would be ordered. Therefore, I support the amendment to the Order of Business and I hope we will be discussing the Criminal Justice (Abolition of Death Penalty) Bill.

This Bill has been on the Order Paper for a long time. It is a matter of very real moral importance, of importance to the legislative profile and the ordering of our affairs and, therefore, I will be supporting an amendment and any vote on that amendment which will be taken.

Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  There are a few points I want to make. Congratulatory messages were passed here on the Order of Business which I did not think were appropriate. I would like on the Order of Business to ask the House to pass a vote of sympathy with Senator Willie Farrell on the death of his wife. Senator Farrell has been an exemplary Member of this House. His wife was a person who helped him totally in his aspirations in politics. She was an exceptional woman. I would like the House to pass a vote of sympathy to our much valued colleague, Senator Farrell, on the death of his exceptional wife.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  I would like to be associated with the remarks of the Leader of the House.

Members rose in their places.

Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  On the Order of Business, item No. 1 is ordered for today. Remarks have been passed about various agreements that were being made on various items. The Order of Business today is item No. 1. On the issue of the imminent retirement from the Seanad of Senator Mary Robinson, I concur with the remarks of congratulations that have been made. There are a number of people in this House who will not have the [2003] opportunity of deciding for themselves to retire. It is important that we remember that through the years we have had exceptional Members of the Seanad who did not get through the electoral process. I totally agree with the sentiments expressed about the role of Senator Mary Robinson in the House but we should not forget the exceptional role that people have played in this House who did not have the choice of retiring. I do not want to get into any sort of polemics about this. I feel that Senator Robinson deserves the praise she has got but I also feel we should express our thanks to the many Members who did not have the same choice as she had.

The Order of Business for today is item No. 1.

Professor Murphy: Information on John A Murphy  Zoom on John A Murphy  Outrageous.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  Senator Ross has moved an amendment to the Order of Business.

Mr. J. O'Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  It is without precedent for the Leader of the House not to respond to questions. Questions were raised which have not been responded to.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  Senator Ross has moved an amendment to the Order of Business.

Mr. J. O'Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  I have raised a question on a matter on which there has been agreement. As a Whip——

[2004]An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  Senator Ross has moved an amendment to the Order of Business——

Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  The Order of Business for today is item No. 1.

Mr. Ross: Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  On a point of order——

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  There is no point of order. Senator Ross has moved an amendment to the Order of Business that item No. 2 be inserted after No. 1. Senator Ross, resume your seat. It is not a point of order, before I even hear it.

Mr. Ross: Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  On a point of order——

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  It is not a point of order. The House will decide in a moment. Senator Ross has moved an amendment to the Order of Business that item No. 2 be inserted after item No. 1.

Mr. Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  I asked for some information from the Leader of the House and I received no reply.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  I am not re-opening the Order of Business. Is the amendment being pressed?

Senators:  Yes.

Question put: “That Item No. 2 be inserted after Item No. 1.”

Bulbulia, Katharine.
Connor, John.
Fennell, Nuala.
Harte, John.
Hogan, Philip.
Kelleher, Peter.
Kennedy, Patrick.
Loughrey, Joachim.
McCormack, Pádraic.
McMahon, Larry.
Manning, Maurice.
Murphy, John A.
Norris, David.
O'Shea, Brian.
O'Toole, Joe.
Robb, John D.A.
Robinson, Mary T.W.
Ross, Shane P.N.

[2005]Bromell, John A. (Tony)
Cassidy, Donie.
Cullimore, Séamus.
Doherty, Michael.
Eogan, George.
Fallon, Seán.
Farrell, Willie.
Fitzgerald, Tom.
Fitzsimons, Jack.
Hanafin, Des.
Haughey, Seán F.
Hillery, Brian.
Hussey, Thomas.
[2006]Kiely, Dan.
Kiely, Rory.
Lanigan, Mick.
Lydon, Donal.
McEllistrim, Tom.
McGowan, Patrick.
Mooney, Paschal.
Mullooly, Brian.
Mulroy, Jimmy.
O'Callaghan, Vivian.
O'Connell, John.
Ryan, William.
Wallace, Mary.

Question declared lost.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  Is the Order of Business agreed?

Mr. J. O'Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  I would like to make a point of order. Since coming into this House I have, at every opportunity allowed to me, worked towards the efficient dispatch of business in this House. As a group, the Independent Senators have co-operated at all times.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  What is the point of order?

Mr. J. O'Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  The point I am making is that the Leader of the House has ridden roughshod over all the agreements by which we have operated over the past two years, that by contemptuous, outrageous behaviour he has behaved despicably——

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  That is not a point of order.

Mr. J. O'Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  We should be allowed the possibility of making our case.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  Please resume your seat. Is the Order of Business agreed?

Senators:  No.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  I am putting the question: “That the Order of Business be agreed to.”

Senators:  Vótáil.

Bromell, John A. (Tony)
Cassidy, Donie.
Cullimore, Séamus.
Doherty, Michael.
Eogan, George.
Fallon, Seán.
Farrell, Willie.
Fitzgerald, Tom.
Fitzsimons, Jack.
Hanafin, Des.
Haughey, Seán F.
Hillery, Brian.
Hussey, Thomas.
Kiely, Dan.
Kiely, Rory.
Lanigan, Mick.
Lydon, Donal.
McEllistrim, Tom.
McGowan, Patrick.
Mooney, Paschal.
Mullooly, Brian.
Mulroy, Jimmy.
O'Callaghan, Vivian.
O'Connell, John.
Ryan, William.
Wallace, Mary.

[2007]Bulbulia, Katharine.
Cregan, Denis.
Fennell, Nuala.
Harte, John.
Kelleher, Peter.
Kennedy, Patrick.
Loughrey, Joachim.
McCormack, Pádraic.
[2008]McMahon, Larry.
Manning, Maurice.
Murphy, John A.
Norris, David.
O'Shea, Brian.
O'Toole, Joe.
Robb, John D.A.
Robinson, Mary T.W.
Ross, Shane P.N.

Question declared carried.

Order of Business agreed to.


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