Seanad Éireann - Volume 100 - 09 March, 1983

Election of Leas-Chathaoirleach.

Mr. Lanigan: I move:

That Senator Tras Honan be elected Leas-Chathaoirleach.

Is mór an onóir domsa ainm An Seanadóir Tras Honan a mholadh mar Leas-Chathaoirleach ar an Seanad. Nuair a bhí sí mar Chathaoirleach rinne sí dea-obair ar son an tSeanaid agus rinne sí a dícheall cothrom na féinne a thabhairt do gach éinne. Táim cinnte má toghtar í inniu go mbeidh foireann mhaith againn — tú féin mar Chathaoirleach agus í mar Leas-Chathaoirleach.

Mr. T. Hussey: I second the motion. I hope the House will accept Senator Tras Honan because she has distinguished herself in the Chair. I am sure that the House will be in agreement that she is a very suitable candidate for appointment as Leas-Chathaoirleach. I have great pleasure in seconding the motion.

Mr. Ferris: In rising to support the nomination of Senator Honan for the post of Leas-Chathaoirleach, I want to put on the record that I, on behalf of the Labour Party, feel it might be appropriate — and the Independents might agree with this stand — if the Labour Party and the Independent grouping, two minority groupings, were consulted and considered for the posts of Cathaoirleach and Leas-Chathaoirleach. The two larger parties seem to assume even when there [111] is a change of Government, that we will sit back and agree to nominations from either side. It would be appropriate, when these positions are being filled if minority groupings were considered. This would show our colleagues from the North of Ireland, whom we are glad to have with us, that we do in fact share power, in this House in particular. I will not refer to the other House or to other institutions of which some Senators are members. In this House we, as a party, have always subscribed to protocol. In future we should be included in discussions about the filling of the posts of Cathaoirleach and Leas-Chathaoirleach. I am sure the Independent group think likewise.

Mr. Lanigan: I do not think we will be found wanting when discussions of that nature next take place, but I would like to remind the Senator that a Labour Senator was Leas-Chathaoirleach for a considerable period.

Mr. McDonald: I support the motion that Senator Tras Honan be elected Leas-Chathaoirleach. In doing so, may I take this opportunity to wish her continued success as Leas-Chathaoirleach, and I am confident she will have the confidence of the House.

Mr. B. Ryan: We could probably consider Senator Ferris's proposal on another occasion. On this occasion I am very happy to support the proposal that Senator Honan be elected Leas-Chathaoirleach. She comes from the best radical Fianna Fáil tradition, a tradition which has been somewhat lost in its more recent accretions, but which represents what is best in this country in terms of its thrust, ambitions and hopes. She also did a fine job as Cathaoirleach and Independent Senators had every reason to be grateful for her work. Therefore I speak for myself and for the other Independent Senators in welcoming her and supporting her nomination as Leas-Chathaoirleach.

Mr. Harte: I am very pleased to see Senator Honan nominated as Leas-Chathaoirleach. [112] We all owe her a debt because in the last Seanad she had more influence in getting Ministers into the House. I would like to thank her for that. I wish her the best of luck and I hope it all works out well for her.

Question put and agreed to.

An Cathaoirleach: I would like to add my congratulations to Senator Honan on behalf of every Member of the Seanad, and particularly the people who served with her when she was Cathaoirleach. I want to take this opportunity to thank her for her courtesy to me, to my party and to the other Members of the House.

Mr. Howard: I want to convey my congratulations to Senator Honan on her election as Leas-Chathaoirleach. I do that for a number of reasons, one of them being that I am a neighbour of hers. I join in with the compliments that have been paid to her on her performance as Cathaoirleach. I am satisfied that she will continue to show the same degree of impartiality as Leas-Chathaoirleach as she did when she was Cathaoirleach. I wish her very well.

Mr. Hourigan: I, too, would like to congratulate Senator Honan on her election as Leas-Chathoairleach. We owe her a very great debt because she was impartial and fair-minded when she was in the Chair. I wish her well in the time ahead and I am certain she will be a very great help to the Cathaoirleach. I would also like to offer congratulations to the Cathaoirleach and to wish him well in the time ahead.

Mrs. Honan: I would like to thank my party for nominating me as Leas-Chathaoirleach and I warmly thank the Opposition, or rather the Government side — it will take me a little while to get accustomed to calling them the Government side, but by the time I have got used to doing so I hope they will be gone again — for their good wishes. There were such magnificent speeches made about me the day the Cathaoirleach took the Chair, and again today that I am a bit confused [113] as to why I was moved out of the Chair, especially if I had been doing such a good job.

I am deeply grateful and honoured to be appointed Leas-Chathaoirleach. A colleague who is no longer with us — and we did not have any great love for each other while he was here — said I was committed to this House and that I had made this quite clear inside and outside this Chamber, and that I was not using it as a convenience to get to higher places. He used the word “higher”. To me this is the highest place. It could be said that making me the Leas-Chathaoirleach is another way of keeping me quiet. As Senator Ryan said, perhaps I am the old type Fianna Fáil. If he dubs me that I am proud of it. I will not change, and that is letting everybody know on both sides of the House where I stand.

I am glad the Taoiseach saw fit to nominate the Northern Ireland Senators. I was a little confused by one word Senator Robb used when congratulating me on my performance as Cathaoirleach. He used the word “honeymoon”. If he was on a honeymoon with me I did not know anything about it. It is better to make that clear here.

Before I sit down I would like to congratulate Senator O'Mahony on his appointment to Europe and wish him well. I do not think he is here today but I would like my message to be conveyed to him by some of his Labour colleagues.

I intend to carry out my duties as Leas-Chathaoirleach with the same commitment, dedication, time and hard work as I did in my short term in the Chair. My warm and sincere thanks to all.