Election of Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Motion.

The Tánaiste and Deputy Haughey rose.

I suggest I was on my feet——

I saw the Tánaiste first and the motion is in the name of the Tánaiste.

I move:

That Deputy John Ryan be elected Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

I recommend Deputy John Ryan to the House, of which he has been a Member since 1973. Since that time all will agree he has acquired the reputation of being a hard working, diligent and most efficient Deputy. I am sure he is held in high esteem by all parties, irrespective of political divide. It gives me pleasure to nominate Deputy J. Ryan.

I second the motion.

Molaimse Séamus Ó Tonnaí mar Leas-Cheann Comhairle. I would like to propose Deputy Jim Tunney for the post of Leas-Cheann Comhairle. There is no need for me to extol the virtues and attributes of Deputy Tunney. He has acted as Leas-Cheann Comhairle and in his occupancy of that position has won the admiration and respect of every Member of the House. He has all the personal attributes necessary to give a first-class performance as Leas-Cheann Comhairle. In addition, he has the necessary experience.

I might suggest that, in view of the atmosphere which we succeeded in generating here yesterday on the occasion of the change-over from one Government to another and the various statements and appeals made for a more constructive approach to our problems in this new Dáil and greater co-operation between the parties, we should now, in that spirit, revert to the old situation where the Ceann Comhairle usually came from the Government side of the House and the Leas-Cheann Comhairle from the Opposition.

I readily acknowledge that on a couple of occasions recently, beginning with the Coalition Government of which Deputy Liam Cosgrave was Taoiseach, the situation altered and subsequently the Fianna Fáil Government under Taoiseach Jack Lynch followed that precedent. Perhaps this would be the time to reinstate the old tradition. I believe that it would make for a much more efficient and effective transaction of our business and would promote a far better spirit of co-operation among the parties and here in the House if, on this occasion, a Member of the Opposition, Deputy Jim Tunney, were acceptable as Leas-Cheann Comhairle, particularly in view of the fact that he is such an outstanding person in himself and a Deputy who has all the necessary qualifications for the appointment.

It was not my intention to intervene in this debate on this motion. However, I feel it my duty to express my dismay at this attempt by the Government to grab the position of Leas-Cheann Comhairle. It had been the accepted practice in this House over the years that where the post of Ceann Comhairle went to the Government, the post of Leas-Cheann Comhairle went to the Opposition. Regrettably, that rule was broken in 1973 but in 1981, by my casting vote, and again in 1982, I succeeded in restoring the balance in the interests of fair play.

I am rather surprised that the Taoiseach fails to appreciate the importance of this. He spoke yesterday of his need to secure the co-operation of the Opposition. I was very heartened by his words, as I was by the response of the Leader of the Opposition. To win that co-operation now, as the Taoiseach seeks, he must show a magnanimity becoming a statesman, withdraw this motion and allow the Opposition to take the post of Leas-Cheann Comhairle. I appreciate that what I am asking would pose very great problems for the Taoiseach, party-politicalwise, but what a wonderful way it would be to start off this new Dáil. To withdraw this motion now would not be a display of weakness on his part but would make it clear that he is a big man, magnanimous and sincere in his desire to secure the co-operation of the Opposition.

I have great regard and respect for Deputy John Ryan. I was a close colleague of his when I was a member of the Labour Party and I mean no disrespect to him in my plea to day to the Taoiseach. After all, Deputy Ryan could be given a junior Ministry. With regard to Deputy Jim Tunney, I want to make it absolutely clear that this is not a plea on his behalf, but a question of the principle of fair play. Members on both sides of the House will agree with me that there was no occupant of that chair more impartial as Leas-Cheann Comhairle than Deputy Tunney. The Taoiseach need have no fears on that score. There is a principle involved and a very important one. We have consistently condemned the Unionists in Northern Ireland for their refusal to share in situations such as this, and the Taoiseach himself has been most vociferous on this point. I would ask him now, in a very special plea, to consider seriously what I have said and prove to the country that he is the great statesman that so many of us believe him to be.

I would like to support that plea, on the basis that it was a long-established procedure which worked well in the past. For various reasons, it was altered and it is appropriate now to revert to the previous practice. I would ask the Taoiseach to agree to restoring the original practice and withdrawing the motion.

Question put: "That Deputy John Ryan be elected Leas-Cheann Comhairle".
The Dáil divided: Tá, 83; Níl, 76.

  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barnes, Monica.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Barry, Myra.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Begley, Michael.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Bermingham, Joe.
  • Birmingham, George Martin.
  • Boland, John.
  • Bruton, John.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Cluskey, Frank.
  • Dowling, Dick.
  • Doyle, Avril.
  • Doyle, Joe.
  • Dukes, Alan.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Enright, Thomas W.
  • Farrelly, John V.
  • Fennell, Nuala.
  • FitzGerald, Garret.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Glenn, Alice.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hegarty, Paddy.
  • Hussey, Gemma.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Keating, Michael.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • L'Estrange, Gerry.
  • McCartin, Joe.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McLoughlin, Frank.
  • Manning, Maurice.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Collins, Edward.
  • Conlon, John F.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cooney, Patrick Mark.
  • Cosgrave, Liam T.
  • Cosgrave, Michael Joe.
  • Coveney, Hugh.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Kieran.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deasy, Martin Austin.
  • Desmond, Barry.
  • Desmond, Eileen.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Molony, David.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Naughten, Liam.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael. (Limerick East).
  • O'Brien, Fergus.
  • O'Brien, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Keeffe, Jim.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • O'Toole, Paddy.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Prendergast, Frank.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, Patrick Joseph.
  • Skelly, Liam.
  • Spring, Dick.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Taylor-Quinn, Madeline.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Treacy, Seán.
  • Yates, Ivan.

Níl

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Andrews, Niall.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Barrett, Michael.
  • Barrett, Sylvester.
  • Brady, Gerard.
  • Brady Vincent.
  • Brennan, Mattie.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John.
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Byrne, Seán.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Colley, George.
  • Conaghan, Hugh.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Clement.
  • Cowen, Bernard.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • De Rossa, Proinsias.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Fahey, Francis.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.
  • O'Dea, William.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Desmond J.
  • Ormonde, Donal.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • Power, Paddy.
  • Reynolds, Albert.
  • Fitzsimons, Jim.
  • Flynn, Pádraig.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Gallagher, Denis.
  • Gallagher, Pat Cope.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Gregory-Independent, Tony.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Charles J.
  • Hilliard, Colm.
  • Hyland, Liam.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael.
  • Lemass, Eileen.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Lyons, Denis.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McEllistrim, Tom.
  • Mac Giolla, Tomás.
  • MacSharry, Ray.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Noonan, Michael. J.
  • (Limerick West)
  • O'Connell, John.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Walsh, Seán.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Woods, Michael.
  • Wyse, Pearse.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Barrett(Dún Laoghaire) and Taylor; Níl, Deputies B. Ahern and Briscoe.
Question declared carried.

I should like to make one point briefly. This represented the first real opportunity for the government to show their intent in regard to reforming Dáil procedures but they have failed miserably.

Ba mhaith liomsa comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le mo chara, an Teachta John Ryan, as ucht é bheith ceaptha mar Leas-Cheann Comhairle sa Teach seo. Tá aithne agam air. Tá meas agam air agus tá iontaoibh agam ann fhad is a bheidh sé sa Chathaoir cháiliúil, thábhachtach sin nach mbeidh ann ach cothrom na féinne. Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil le ceannaire mo pháirtí féin ag eirí as na rudaí deasa go léir a dúirt sé mar gheall ormsa. Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil leis an iar-Cheann Comhairle, leis na Teachtaí ar thaobh na láimhe deise anseo a thug tacaíocht dom san vótáil.

Gabhaim buíochas leis an iar-Cheann Comhairle de bhrí gur thug sé cead domsa rialacha an Tí seo a chur i bhfeidhm de réir mar a bfhacthas domsa go mba cheart a dhéanamh. Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil leis freisin as ucht an comhairle agus an cúnamh a thug sé dom le linn mé bheith i mo Leas-Cheann Comhairle. Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil le iarChléireach na Dála, leis an bhfoireann go léir, na huiséirí agus gach duine eile a thug cabhair domsa agus mé ag iarraidh dualgais na cathaoireach sin a chur i bhfeidhm agus mar fhocal scoir daoibh anois, tá mé sásta ionam féin gur thug mé cothrom na féinne do gach duine sa Teach.

I should like to express my sincere thanks to the proposer and seconder of my appointment and to the Deputies who voted for me. I appreciate the high office bestowed on me. I hope I can live up to the standards set by my predecessor, Deputy Tunney, and those many holders of the office before him.

I appreciate the kind words of the Tánaiste and of Deputy John O'Connell, a former colleague of mine. All I can say to all Deputies is that I will endeavour to carry out my duties with the fullest impartiality or, as we say in Irish "cothrom na féinne" for the full five years.