Seanad Éireann - Volume 149 - 27 November, 1996

Election of Cathaoirleach.

Acting Chairman (Mr. McGowan): It is a great honour for me to preside at the election of the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad. It behoves every Member of the House to elect a Cathaoirleach of the highest calibre who will ensure that democracy is seen to work. We all contribute to that principle.

Glacfaidh mé le tairiscintí anois.

I will now receive motions.

Mr. Manning: Tairgaim: “Go dtóghtar an Seanadóir Liam MacCosgair mar Cathaoirleach den tSeanad.” I move: “That Senator Liam Cosgrave be elected Cathaoirleach of the Seanad.” This is an election which all of us wish did not have to take place. The standard set by the last two holders of the office of Cathaoirleach will be a shining example to the person we elect today. I have the honour to propose Senator Liam Cosgrave for the Office of Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann. I do so because I know, as does the House, that he has many of the qualities which distinguished the past two holders of the office and which contributed to their success as Cathaoirligh.

Senator Cosgrave is committed to this House and to its traditions. He respects the dignity of the House and appreciates the importance of its work. He is fair minded, experienced, personable, approachable and has a sense of humour which is essential in any good Chairman, especially in this House. In addition, he comes from a family tradition characterised by decades of public service and quite patriotism. He would make an excellent Cathaoirleach.

I have one other reason for asking the House to support Senator Cosgrave: it is the long and honourable tradition, almost a convention of this House, whereby the Cathaoirleach comes from the Government side and the Leas-Chathaoirleach from the Opposition side. It is a good convention which has been broken with only once in almost 70 years. It contributes greatly to the successful running of the House and to the good relations which characterise its work. I hope that tradition will be continued today with the election of Senator Cosgrave.

I could say much more about Senator Cosgrave but I do not think he would approve of me [748] making a long-winded speech. Once again I have the honour to propose Senator Liam Cosgrave as Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann.

Ms O'Sullivan: I have pleasure in seconding Senator Liam Cosgrave as Cathaoirleach of the Seanad. It is a sad occasion for us to have to come together to elect a Cathaoirleach after the untimely death of Senator Liam Naughten. He served the office of Cathaoirleach well and followed in the fine tradition of Senator Seán Fallon whose death was also untimely.

There has been a fine tradition of conducting the business of this House with dignity and I am confident that Senator Cosgrave will follow in that tradition. He has long experience in politics, particularly in this House. His well refined skills are obvious, particularly in negotiating the affairs of the House and in his work in recent years as Government Chief Whip in a House without an overall Government majority. As Senator Manning said, he has a good sense of humour along with the ability to be firm. Those of us who are subject to his Whip are aware of the fact that he can use his sense of humour at the same time as being firm. That is also in the tradition of his two immediate predecessors in the office of Cathaoirleach.

The Cosgrave family has a long tradition in politics which is being carried on by Senator Cosgrave. The Labour Party has strongly supported the concept of consensus and co-operation that has been in operation here. It has been implemented through the practice of electing the Cathaoirleach from the Government side and the Leas-Chathaoirleach from the Opposition side. We strongly support that and will continue to do so. That spirit of co-operation has allowed us to carry on informed debates on Bills and other issues of importance. We do not spend long hours in party political confrontation which sometimes occurs in the Lower House. This House has managed to deal with its business in a way that promotes co-operation and consensus. It gives me great pleasure to second the nomination of Senator Liam Cosgrave as Cathaoirleach.

Acting Chairman: Senator Cosgrave has been proposed and seconded. Are there any other proposals?

Mr. Wright: I concur with the sentiments expressed by the Leader of the House, Senator Manning, in saying that this is a sad day. Once again we are electing a Cathaoirleach following the untimely and tragic death of former Cathaoirleach, Liam Naughten. His predecessor, Seán Fallon, also died in office. On behalf of the Fianna Fáil group it is my pleasure to propose Senator Brian Mullooly who, since 1981, has served in this House with great distinction. He has acted as the Fianna Fáil spokesperson on education as well as being assistant Chief Whip. When we were in office he became the [749] Government Chief Whip. Senator Mullooly always fulfilled every role with great experience and distinction. When the party had to replace Senator Seán Fallon it wisely chose Senator Mullooly who was then elected as Leas-Chathaoirleach. Over the last 18 months he has shown that he was an excellent choice.

I mentioned his experience and anyone who has dealt with Senator Mullooly in any position he has held will know of his commitment to the House. He has also been a member of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges and has been totally committed to reform of the House. For those reasons it is my honour to propose Senator Brian Mullooly as Cathaoirleach.

Mr. Finneran: It is with a heavy heart that this House now deals with the election of a Cathaoirleach. It is a time to reflect on the great losses we have experienced during the lifetime of this Seanad. My own county has been to the forefront in bearing these losses and it has been a traumatic time for me. It is with some irony that Senator Brian Mullooly, another Roscommon man, is being proposed by my party. I formally second him for the position of Cathaoirleach.

Senator Mullooly is known and respected by all Members of the House. I have known him personally for many years and politically for close on 20 years. Since 1979 I have worked with him on Roscommon County Council where he served as chairperson from 1985 to 1991. This House honoured him by electing him Leas-Chathaoirleach a year and a half ago. Senator Mullooly is ideally suited, and has the necessary skills, to carry out the duties of Cathaoirleach with dignity and impartiality. It is my great pleasure to formally second the proposal of Senator Mullooly for the position of Cathaoirleach.

Acting Chairman: The name of Senator Mullooly has been properly proposed and seconded. Are there other proposals?

Mr. O'Toole: I am not proposing anyone's name, I merely wish to establish if there will be a debate before the vote.

Acting Chairman: There will be a debate. Does the Senator wish to contribute?

Mr. O'Toole: It is not my intention to repeat statements about the unfortunate accident which gave rise to this election. Nonetheless, it is part of the business of the House and Members have a difficult choice to make as two people of the finest character have been nominated.

I have served in this House for ten years and, during that time, Senator Cosgrave has always been a friend and open to discussion with Members on all sides. His loyalty to his party and his interest in the development of Members have always been apparent. As minority Whip, Senator Cosgrave has played a most difficult role and [750] managed, with few arguments, to keep people onside. He responded to them in a way which displayed a great sense of honour, integrity and fair play. He did so at times when he was under great stress and pressure to renege on agreements, etc. He is honest, fair and of the highest integrity. I am certain that whoever is elected will discharge the functions and duties of Cathaoirleach with honour and distinction.

In 1982, before I was elected to this House, I recall trying to obtain support for my campaign at a meeting of INTO activists in a hotel in Tuam. I received very little support until one person stated that he wished to support me and would ensure that the organisation supported me. That person was Senator Mullooly, with whom I have enjoyed a long relationship. He is honourable, dependable and discharges his functions with great concern for those around him. He has been the INTO's nominee to the Seanad on a number of occasions and I have proposed and supported his candidature on behalf of the ICTU, which he represented in the House during that period. On the political scene, Senator Mullooly has discharged his functions in relation to the needs of the people he represents. I was glad when he attained the position of Leas-Chathaoirleach. He has discharged the duties of that office in an honourable and even handed manner.

This is the most difficult decision I have been obliged to make during my time in this House. However, I will be casting my vote politically in a way which represents the organisations——

Mr. Norris: The INTO.

Mr. O'Toole: ——and unions I represent. I choose to ignore the fact that Senator Mullooly represents the Fianna Fáil Party.

Mr. Norris: It is less significant than the INTO.

Mr. O'Toole: However, I will be voting in favour of Senator Mullooly.

Mr. Dardis: On the basis of professional solidarity, I ask that a farmer be nominated.

Mr. Norris: I have a window box.

Mr. Dardis: I am sure it is well tended. Well deserved tributes were paid to the late Cathaoirleach, Senator Naughten, and I will not repeat them. However, it will be very difficult for his successor to fill his shoes. The late Senators Fallon and Naughten were excellent Cathaoirligh and conducted the business of the House in an even handed, efficient and courteous manner.

This is a momentous occasion because we will be electing someone to the Chair of Seanad Éireann, which is one of the most important constitutional offices. We must realise that we are electing a Member to the Council of State who will act in the place of the President when he or she is absent from the country.

[751] We are fortunate that two candidates of the calibre of Senators Cosgrave and Mullooly are standing for election. I am deeply aware of Senator Cosgrave's long family tradition of public service to the State. It is not an exaggeration to state that, but for the even-handedness of his grandfather, Ireland might be the democracy it is today and we must be conscious of that fact.

Senator Mullooly has served in the Seanad since 1981 and has filled the office of Leas-Chathaoirleach with distinction. He conducted the affairs of the House very well when he was in the Chair. I would be happy to see either elected. However, we can only elect one and I am sure that the individual in question will do well.

I am aware of the tradition whereby the Government side has always elected the Cathaoirleach. However, this is an unusual and unprecedented situation in that the transfer of Government took place without a general election and changed the balance of the House. The normal rules do not apply in this case. It would be easy for Opposition Members to want Senator Cosgrave to take the Chair, purely on the basis that voting strength on the Government side would be reduced. In the event that he is elected, it will make the Government side's voting position more difficult. We look forward to the debate on the Universities Bill to see how that minority performs.

The Progressive Democrats have a history of adopting a reasonably independent line on these matters. Members will recall that, when they first entered the House, the three Senators from my party, who were nominated by the then Taoiseach, abstained in the vote for the election of the Cathaoirleach because they did not regard him as the most suitable person for the job. Our record stands comparison with others on that score. The fact of the matter is that we are in Opposition and we will be supporting the candidacy of Senator Mullooly.

Mr. Norris: On previous occasions I made the point that there should be a contest and, in situations where there did not appear to be a contest on the horizon, I did everything possible to ensure that one took place by trying to nominate an Independent Member. To choose someone from the Independent benches is a reasonable option in a House which is supposed, by and large, to be reflective and divorced from the ordinary hurly burly of party political life. I believe this is a reasonable alternative which should be considered in most circumstances. However, I am aware that it is not always wise, and can be dangerous, to be troublesome.

I recall a previous occasion when the Independent group discussed this matter and arranged to nominate former Senator John A. Murphy. We proposed his name and spoke greatly in his favour but, wily hobgoblin of the political scene that he is, he jumped ship unannounced and stated that he wished to [752] disassociate himself from that futile political gesture. I do not propose to place myself in that situation again.

Mr. Roche: A wise decision.

Mr. Norris: As Senator Manning stated, it is significant that the Cathaoirleach usually comes from the Government side. We are lucky to have two such outstanding candidates as Senators Cosgrave and Mullooly.

Senator Cosgrave has an extraordinary pedigree through his grandfather, his father and his own term of service in this House. He knows the rules and procedure of the House, he is not an abrasive personality and he can conduct discussions and negotiations in a fair and even handed manner. I will have little difficulty supporting him.

It is a difficult choice. I have served in this House with Senator Mullooly and there were other circumstances in which I would clearly have preferred him to have been his party's nomination for this post. As Leas-Chathaoirleach he has graced the House with his civilised, calm, knowledgeable handling of affairs and it would, in other circumstances, have been a particular pleasure for me to vote for him. I regret that on this occasion I will not be able to do so. The reason is that in a balanced situation where we have two people of clearly significant talent one has to look at the political realities.

Senator O'Toole says that he is voting politically and so am I. I want to keep the Government in place. It is important that we, on this side of the House, keep the Government's voting strength as weak as possible so that we on the Independent benches continue to hold the balance of power. I remind the House that whoever receives this important position does so because it lies in the gift of the deciding group who are the Independent University Senators. I hope this will be registered by the Government when we discuss issues such as the Universities Bill. I wish the margin to be less to the advantage of the Government so that it will feel the lash of the University Senators should it proceed in an unwise way with the specific provisions which it appears intent on doing. For that reason, I will be voting for the candidate from the Government's side.

I am not a Member of the Opposition and so I do not have to take the position that Senator Dardis, quite appropriately, has taken. He is a Member of the Opposition, I am an Independent and I underline that. I have voted with this Government and against it. I have been responsible for the defeat of the Government on a number of occasions and I am unrepentant and shall continue in the same independent mode. Please do not confuse me with any Member of the Opposition.

Mr. Magner: That is very unlikely, Senator.

[753] Mr. Cassidy: Is there a seconder for that?

Mr. Norris: On occasions there are slightly invidious differences between this House and the other House. These should be ironed out as far as possible. The incoming Cathaoirleach, together with the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, should look at the possibility of having the same arrangement as applies in the Lower House whereby the Cathaoirleach is re-elected unopposed at the next general election. This might require a constitutional amendment but we are having so many of those that there should not be any difficulty in including this with the next group of them. It would be fair and proper that this amendment should be considered.

Mr. Sherlock: It is sad that we have to meet for the second time in the life of this Seanad to elect a new Cathaoirleach. Both candidates are men of great standing. However, I hope the incoming Cathaoirleach will assist the Leader of the House in bringing about the necessary reforms which are needed to give the Seanad an increased role in initiating legislation as it has the power to do under the Constitution.

Every Member of this House has an extensive vocabulary and could speak at length on any subject. From time to time we debate matters of international importance. I know delegations go abroad but I have never seen any of them reporting back regardless of where they visited. It is important that Senators should report to the House. I will be voting for Senator Cosgrave.

Mr. Doyle: On a point of order, we had a debate on South Africa when the delegation returned from there.

Mr. Roche: May I say to Senator Sherlock how much we look forward to the delegation from North Korea? It is long overdue.

Mr. Magner: Another election is obviously under way.

Mr. Cassidy: Any time, Senator.

Mr. Magner: I remind Senator Norris that the Government is far more anxious than he that it stays in power. Like all elections, this one will be decided in the lobbies and I want to put on record that, given the unique position of the fall of one Government and the creation of another without an election, I had the opportunity, as Labour Whip, of working with the Whip and the Leader of Fianna Fáil.

The Leas-Chathaoirleach is held in the highest esteem by my party and the Fine Gael Party. I do not need to draw comparisons between Senator Cosgrave and Senator Mullooly. They are both [754] equal. However, despite the words of my colleague from Trinity, this is a political House and these things are decided in a political way. It is no reflection on the characters or capabilities of one candidate or the other. Nonetheless, I have had the pleasure of serving with both Senator Mullooly as Whip of the Fianna Fáil Party and Senator Cosgrave as Whip of the Fine Gael Party and there is nothing to choose between them for courtesy, co-operation and good humour. I wish them both luck although, given that this is a political House, I will be voting for Senator Cosgrave.

Mr. Quinn: Senator O'Toole said that this is the most difficult decision he has had to make in ten years in this House. I have been in this House for four years and I have been impressed by its working. I have listened carefully to the discussion today and have heard words such as “tradition”, “dignity”, “humour” and “firm hand”. All of these words play a part in both the characters of Senator Mullooly and Senator Cosgrave.

One of the important decisions Senators have to make is how do we make this House work best? I have been impressed by the two previous holders of this office, Sean Fallon and Liam Naughten. They had all the abilities necessary to make this House work very well. I listened to Senator Manning say that the tradition has always been to elect the Government candidate, but that is not necessarily so. It has come about because the Government has always had a majority. I do not think it has been a tradition to do so.

On the last occasion, the Cathaoirleach was elected unopposed. I have also looked at the other work undertaken by the office holder. The Cathaoirleach has a position on the Council of State and a role in representing this House elsewhere. The Cathaoirleach also has a role in the other House when there is a visiting Head of State. I look to see how best this can be fulfilled and find both candidates would be very competent at doing so. I had to look at experience. I found I had learned more from the experience of Senator Mullooly than Senator Cosgrave, who I know is competent and capable of doing the job. On the basis of experience, I will cast my vote in favour of Senator Mullooly.

Acting Chairman: As there is more than one proposal, they will be dealt with in the order in which they were moved.

Cuirfidh mé an cheist anois.

I shall now put the question.

Cuireadh an cheist: “Go dtoghfar an Seanadóir Liam Mac Cosgair agus go rachaidh sé i gceannas an tSeanaid anois mar Cathaoirleach.”

Question put: “That Senator Liam Cosgrave be elected and do now take the Chair of the Seanad as Cathaoirleach.”

[755] [756] The Seanad divided: Tá, 31; Níl, 28.

Belton, Louis J.

Burke, Paddy.

Calnan, Michael.

Cashin, Bill.

Cosgrave, Liam.

Cotter, Bill.

Cregan, Denis (Dino).

D'Arcy, Michael.

Doyle, Joe.

Enright, Thomas W.

Farrelly, John V.

Gallagher, Ann.

Hayes, Brian.

Henry, Mary.

Howard, Michael.

Kelly, Mary.

Lee, Joe.

McAughtry, Sam.

McDonagh, Jarlath.

Magner, Pat.

Maloney, Seán.

Manning, Maurice.

Neville, Daniel.

Norris, David.

O'Sullivan, Jan.

Reynolds, Gerry.

Ross, Shane P.N.

Sherlock, Joe.

Taylor-Quinn, Madeleine.

Townsend, Jim.

Wall, Jack.

Níl

Bohan, Eddie.

Byrne, Seán.

Cassidy, Donie.

Daly, Brendan.

Dardis, John.

Fahey, Frank.

Farrell, Willie.

Finneran, Michael.

Fitzgerald, Tom.

Haughey, Edward.

Honan, Cathy.

Kelleher, Billy.

Kiely, Dan.

Kiely, Rory.

Lanigan, Mick.

Lydon, Don.

McGennis, Marian.

McGowan, Paddy.

Mooney, Paschal.

Mulcahy, Michael.

Mullooly, Brian.

O'Brien, Francis.

O'Kennedy, Michael.

O'Toole, Joe.

Ormonde, Ann.

Quinn, Feargal.

Roche, Dick.

Wright, G.V.

Tellers: Tá, Senators Burke and Magner; Níl, Senators Fitzgerald and Ormonde.

Fáisnéiseadh go rabhthas tar éis glacadh leis an cheist.

Question declared carried.

Whereupon Senators rose in their places and remained standing while the Cathaoirleach proceeded to the Dais.

An Cathaoirleach: Ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil díobh mar gheall ar an onóir a bhronn sibh orm. Déanaidh mé mo dhícheall cothram na féinne a thabhairt do ghach Seanadóir.

I thank my proposer, Senator Manning, and Seconder, Senator O'Sullivan, for nominating me and all those who supported me. I thank the Leas-Chathaoirleach, Senator Mullooly, for the honourable way he conducted the campaign in recent days and look forward to working with him. I truly wish things were not as they are and that my friend, Senator Liam Naughten, was still sitting in this Chair presiding over proceedings.

The last 16 months have been traumatic for this House and its staff. In Gordon Wilson we lost a truly courageous man who touched us all. In Seán Fallon we lost not just a fine Cathaoirleach but a friend to all. In Liam Naughten we again lost a fine Cathaoirleach and one of the most courteous men to ever grace this House. It is now my duty and responsibility to ensure the fairness, courtesy and what I term open door policy of our two previous Cathaoirligh in this 19th Seanad is continued and upheld. This is a responsibility which I intend to carry out to the utmost of my ability.

The most important function of the Cathaoirleach is to exercise impartiality at all times and it is a fundamental right of each and every Member of the House to be treated fairly. I assure the House of my absolute belief in that right. I also wish to assure Senators that any efforts to update and improve the functions of the House will have my full support.

Co-operation has also been a feature of the operation of this House and I sincerely hope it continues. In this regard, I thank everyone for their support for, tolerance of and understanding towards me as Whip over the last few years. Fortunately, only a few had to feel the full brunt.

I thank the Clerk, the Clerk Assistant and Seanad Office staff for their help. If I single out one person for mention for her total commitment and loyalty, it is Marie Burnell, my secretary. I again thank everyone for their kind words and look forward to working in co-operation with them for the remainder of this Seanad.

Mr. Manning: I offer you my deepest congratulations. It is a proud day for you and your family. You know the esteem in which I and all in this House hold you. You will have the full co-operation of all Senators in following the illustrious tradition established by your two illustrious predecessors. I wish you every success and assure you of every co-operation in your new position.

Mr. Mullooly: I thank my party for having selected me as its nominee for the position of Cathaoirleach. I consider it a great honour to [757] have been deemed worthy to be proposed for the highest office in the Seanad. I thank Senators on all sides of the House for their kind comments on my suitability for the position.

I congratulate you on your election to the office of Cathaoirleach. I know you will uphold the high standards set by your two illustrious predecessors who served as Cathaoirligh in the lifetime of this Seanad and that you will be an efficient and impartial Cathaoirleach. I wish you every success and assure you of my total support and co-operation. It will be a pleasure to work with you as it has always been.

Mr. Wright: On behalf of the Fianna Fáil Party, I congratulate you and assure you of our support. I speak for all my colleagues when I say that, were it not to be Senator Mullooly, there is nobody we would rather see in the Chair than you.

It is appropriate that one of Senator Liam Naughten's last acts as Cathaoirleach was to have the portraits of former Cathaoirligh hung in the Seanad corridor. You have lost a great friend, but your portraits will be side by side.

I worry for my colleagues as regards the replacement Chief Whip. He or she will not only be the Whip for your group but for about 22 Members behind me who regularly pair themselves through you.

Mr. Fitzgerald: That is finished now.

Mr. Wright: Our friendship is well known. I hope now that you have reached the high office of Cathaoirleach, that will remain unchanged. I second Senator Norris's proposal to work towards your unopposed re-election as Cathaoirleach.

Mr. O'Toole: I am sure, for once, I speak for all my Independent colleagues in wishing you well and to assure you of our full support. You will carry out the job with distinction and I congratulate you and your wife, Joan. You will understand better than most the importance of the office and you will carry it through with distinction. I hope any differences of opinion occurring early in the day will be forgotten by the evening; perhaps Fairyhouse on Sunday week is not out of the question yet. I wish you well.

Mr. Dardis: On behalf of the Progressive Democrats, I offer you our sincere congratulations. You come from a proud and long tradition. It is a distinction to take the Chair of the Seanad, your father and grandfather were Taoisigh. I sympathise with Senator Mullooly in losing the Chair as it appeared to be in Roscommon's permanent custody as the last two Cathaoirligh came from there. We offer you our co-operation and support during your term as Cathaoirleach and I am sure you will be successful.

[758] Ms O'Sullivan: I also congratulate you on your election to the important and distinguished office of Cathaoirleach. I have no doubt you will fill the role extremely well. I reiterate the words of Senator Magner; voting Senator Cosgrave to the office does not reflect negatively on our opinion of Senator Mullooly, who has been and will continue to be a fine Leas-Chathaoirleach. Sincere compliments were paid to him last week on his fine speech on the death of Senator Liam Naughten. I know Senator Mullooly will continue to co-operate with the Cathaoirleach. I assure you, Sir, of our continued support.

Mr. Sherlock: Ba mhaith liom cuidiú leis an rún comhghairdeas a ghabháil leath mar Chathaoirleach Seanad Éireann. From watching you I know you handle matters firmly and with great dignity and patience, you will need these qualities in your new position. I wish you the best of luck.

Mr. Belton: I also congratulate you on your historic election which was brought about by the death of a close friend. There has to a winner and loser in all elections. This is a democratic assembly. You and your family were instrumental in bringing democracy to this State and I have no doubt you will continue that tradition. I wish you and your family the best of luck.

Mr. Neville: I also congratulate you. I recognise the proud contribution made by your family since the foundation of the State. As I said during the tributes to Senator Liam Naughten, the position of Cathaoirleach is an important one. You have a great tradition to follow. Your two predecessors raised the esteem of the House to a level I have not seen heretofore. You, Sir, have the ability, commitment and personality to continue this tradition and I wish you every success. The Members of the House have respect for Senator Mullooly's ability, understanding and friendship and I wish him well in the future.

Mr. Magner: I join in congratulating you. In many ways, it has been a happy election which demonstrates the parity of esteem in which the contender and the successful candidate are held. In my dealings with you as Chief Whip, you would sometimes lower your head and give me a glance which indicated things were not great. One of your predecessors, Pat Joe Reynolds, once told me to sit down. I told him I had yet to say something. He said I looked as if I was out of order. I hope you do not adopt the philosophy of Éamon de Valera but will look into your heart when trying to decide whether I am in order.

Mr. Ross: I am fulfilling a private pledge I made to you not to speak in your favour before the vote. I am pleased by your election to Cathaoirleach of the Seanad. I know you will bring to that office the great integrity which has been in your family for generations. We are honoured by your election.

[759] Mr. Wall: I also congratulate you. As regards your love of sport, in your high position you will have no problem getting tickets to all the appropriate functions, which I know will be a relief to many.

Mr. Magner: Especially to Senator Wall.

Mr. Roche: I join in congratulating you and your family. As a student of public administration, I can trace back the extraordinary contribution your family has made to the foundation of the State. You do honour to the Chair. I wish Senator Mullooly had been more fortunate today but as victory was not his, I cannot think of anybody who is more deserving than you in terms of family contribution. Your family has contributed in an incalculable way to the building of a mature democracy. I am sure you will honour this tradition and I look forward to working with you.

Mr. Quinn: The House is honoured by your election as Cathaoirleach. You are following in honourable steps. Portraits of your father and grandfather already hang in the House. It is historical that a third generation will now serve in high office.

I am also pleased to see the widow and son of Senator Liam Naughten in the Gallery. I am glad she has heard the expressions of the high esteem in which Liam was held. We made a great friend who allocated his time, attention, enthusiasm and dedication to the House. I know you, Sir, will follow in that tradition.

Mr. Farrelly: You and I were elected to these Houses on the same day; we became friends and have remained so. It is an honour for me to participate in your election as Cathaoirleach and it is a position you will fill with your great ability to deal with people. I have no doubt it must be a great privilege and honour to be the third member of the family to be a Member of the Council of State. I look forward to working with you.

Ms Honan: I join with Senators in congratulating you and wishing you the best in your term as Cathaoirleach. You will have my full co-operation. I have been here for one term and already we have lost two dear colleagues who held this important office and whom we held in such high esteem. I am proud that somebody of your standing is taking over from our former colleague whose departure was so untimely.

Mr. Doyle: I congratulate you on your election to this high office. You are in the winner's enclosure but you were always favourite in my book because of your impeccable breeding, but Senator Mullooly was an excellent runner-up.

Mr. Lydon: I congratulate you. I am not interested in the contribution of your father and [760] your grandfather because I like to think that you were elected on your own merit. Although I congratulate and welcome you to the post, it is a great loss for me as you and I will no longer be paired on Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council. I do not know what I will do in future. I also congratulate my colleague, Senator Mullooly, who had a good showing and I have no doubt it will not be too long before he occupies the seat. That is not to say that you will not remain for a long time but I am sure there will be changes as time goes by. You will fill the post well.

Mr. Reynolds: Following Senator Magner's contribution, everybody knows why I am quite. My father has been telling me for the past 30 years that I am out of order before I open my mouth. I hope that when the media is reporting on the Seanad, it will take that into consideration if my contributions have been short.

I am delighted to see Senator Cosgrave elected as Cathaoirleach and I have no doubt he will make a good one coming as he does from a political dynasty. It can be difficult to shake off but he has made an excellent niche for himself. As Government Chief Whip over the past 18 months you have done excellent work. I wish your wife, Joan, and your family every success in the future.

Mr. Cassidy: I want to be associated with the vote of congratulations. You are an excellent choice based on my experience of working with you as Whip and on the Committee of Procedures and Privileges. I offer you my whole-hearted congratulations. There will always be another day for Senator Mullooly. He has been an excellent Leas-Chathaoirleach and has done this House proud. We were fortunate to have such a great choice for the position of Cathaoirleach. I wish you well.

Mrs. Taylor-Quinn: I wish you well. It is fitting that the name of Cosgrave is filling the fourth highest constitutional position in this State. It is important that history continues. Your family was there at the foundation of constitutional politics in this country and it is more than appropriate that you should continue along that line. Nobody expected this situation to arise. We are extremely sorry that the former Cathaoirleach, Senator Naughten, departed so soon.

Miss Ormonde: I congratulate you on your new position. I lose a friend as a result because, whenever I needed a pair, I went straight to you. I then went to my party Whip to tell him that I had a pair and every time I was asked where I got one. I am delighted that you were elected. While you come from a political family, you have arrived in your own right; there is no doubt about that. You have the personality and style for the position. I wish you well and look forward to working with you.

[761] Ms Kelly: As a member of the panel of temporary chairpersons, I congratulate you and look forward to working with you in the future. I hope you got your eyesight checked because you will need it in that position.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a ghabháil leat ar do thoghadh mar Chathaoirleach Sheanad Éireann. Bheadh sé ina phribhléid ag éinne a bheith tofa mar Chathaoirleach ar an Teach seo ach is tú féin an tríú glúin de chlann Mac Cosgair a fuair an phribhéid an-mhór.

I join with colleagues in congratulating you on the distinction of being appointed Cathaoirleach. It would be a privilege for anyone to be elected, but in your case it has to be a particular privilege and achievement as you are the third generation of a family which has given distinguished public service. Your election comes at a time when public service is not always rated as highly as it should be and politicians are not recognised as we would wish. It is important that a generation of a family that has contributed so much in public service should be honoured by your election.

Fianna Fáil was particularly fortunate in having a candidate of the calibre of Senator Mullooly to propose for the office. He has demonstrated, as I am sure you will, the dignity and status that is attached to the Houses of the Oireachtas. I look forward to having the same co-operation with you as I had previously in your role as Government Chief Whip. The relationship you developed with the Fianna Fáil Whip will, I am sure, be maintained to the advantage, not just of individual Senators, but also the workings of this House. Go n-éirí le gheall leat agus do chlann freisin.

Mr. Fitzgerald: Ba mhaith liom mo comhghairdeas a ghabháil leat. Níl aon dabht ná go dtabharfaidh cothrom na Féinne do gach éinne.

I congratulate you. I will miss you but I thank you for your co-operation over the past two years as Government Chief Whip. I am not sure who will replace you but it will not be the same. I was late in making my contribution because I thought we were adjourning for refreshments. I offer you my heartiest congratulations. Senator Mullooly was a worthy candidate and it was no disrespect to you that you were opposed. Long may you reign.

Mr. Enright: I join with other Senators in wishing you health, happiness and success as Cathaoirleach. The race between you and Senator Mullooly was similar to a race between Arkle and Mill House. Your election is a tribute to you. You had great training from your father; you learned a lot from the late Deputy Percy Dockrell and you also learned from your experience on Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council. It is a great honour for you to be elected Cathaoirleach and I wish you success.

[762] I had a discussion with the late Senator Naughten recently about the possibility of the Cathaoirleach being automatically returned unopposed after a general election. That possibility should be examined and agreed to.

Mr. Byrne: I join in congratulating you and wishing you and your family every happiness. I first met your father in Clonmel many years ago when former Senator Denis Burke was Mayor of Clonmel. I am sure your many racing and rugby friends in County Tipperary will be happy with your election. I know you will be an even handed Cathaoirleach. I am sure there will be another day for Senator Mullooly.

Mr. Hayes: I join in congratulating you on your election as Cathaoirleach. One of the abiding images of my short period as a Senator is arriving for my first division and seeing you arrive with beads of sweat on your forehead saying “Is TW up yet?” We will miss that image.

Mr. Enright: I will not buy the Senator a drink later.

Mr. Hayes: I hope the position will allow you to be more relaxed because you have had a difficult time in the arduous post of Whip. I extend my congratulations to your wife and family. A book entitled The Cosgrave Legacy was launched recently. That legacy is now complete as you continue to make your contribution to politics. You are one of the youngest Cathaoirligh and I wish you many years of success.

Mr. Lanigan: I congratulate you on your election as Cathaoirleach and wish you well. I look forward to working with you. The Order of Business will be a little different now. Each Cathaoirleach with whom I have served has brought great qualities to the office. Séamus Dolan brought his good Cavan humour to the post. One night I had no car to go home and the then Cathaoirleach, Pat Joe Reynolds, had his son, Senator Reynolds, who had just returned from the United States, drive me home. Deputy Doherty brought his own style to the Chair. Treas Honan still looks out for us and, unfortunately, we have lost two good friends in recent years.

Today is a happy day. I would love to have heard the late Micheál O'Hehir's commentary on the contest we had this morning. I wish you well. Perhaps you would pass over your lists of potential absentees to our Whips. I congratulate Senator Mullooly on the work he has done as Leas-Chathaoirleach to enhance the standing of the House. He would have made an excellent Cathaoirleach. Beidh lá eile aige.

Mr. Burke: I would like to be associated with the expression of congratulations. You will bring your own style to the House. You have made history and I wish you and your family well. You have been an excellent Whip and I am sure you [763] will carry out your functions in an exemplary manner.

Mr. D. Kiely: I congratulate you on your election to the Chair and I wish you success. I am sure you will be as fair in the post of Cathaoirleach as you were as a Whip. I was one of those for whom you arranged pairs from time to time. I wish you luck in your post. Beidh lá eile ag Senator Mullooly.

Mr. Manning: On the Order of Business the House agreed to suspend business until 2 p.m. but, if it is agreeable to the House, we will suspend until 2.45 p.m.

An Cathaoirleach: Is that agreed? Agreed.

Sitting suspended at 1.20 p.m. and resumed at 2.45 p.m.