Election of Vice Chairman

I propose that we commence with the election of Vice Chairman of this committee. Under Standing Orders, the committee may elect a Vice Chairman. I ask for nominations for the position.

I nominate Senator Leyden. He is a former Minister of State and a long-standing Member of the Oireachtas who has served in both the Dáil and Seanad. He has huge experience in European affairs. I also think it is a good idea to have a Senator as Vice Chairman for balance. I know that Senator Leyden would be a very suitable candidate for the position.

Are there any other nominations?

I have great pleasure in nominating my learned colleague, Deputy Durkan. He is a very distinguished Member of the Dáil and a man of long service, standing and great respect. I do not think anybody has more experience or would be more fitting to deputise in the Chairman's place as Vice Chairman of this committee.

As there is more than one nomination for the position of Vice Chairman, I will deal with the nominations in the order in which I have received them and and I will now put the following question: "That Senator Terry Leyden be elected Vice Chairman of the committee."

As the full membership of the committee is not present, I am obliged to wait eight minutes or until all members are present before taking the division. Could we ring the bells for four minutes?

Question put:
The Committee divided: Tá, 7; Níl, 3.

  • Breathnach, Declan.
  • Craughwell, Gerard P.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • O'Rourke, Frank.

Níl

  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Richmond, Neale.
Question declared carried.

I congratulate Senator Leyden on his election as Vice Chairman of the committee and look forward to working with him. I also thank Deputy Bernard Durkan for making a contest. We are all here to work together.

I thank my proposer and the members who voted for me. I thank the Chairman for his remarks. I will be delighted to work with him and all members. Deputy Bernard Durkan and I are long-serving members of this committee. Deputy Durkan has served as Chairman, Vice Chairman and member.

I know Deputy Michael Healy-Rae will be very effective in his role as Chairman because of his vast experience. I am particularly interested in this role because I was appointed by the then Taoiseach, Charles Haughey as the negotiator during the negotiations on the Single European Act from 1989 to 1992. I was dealing with those who were negotiating on behalf of the British Government at that time and we worked very well together.

As a Senator I will have more time than most Deputies to devote to this committee. I think that on a joint committee it is a good idea that the Chairman is a Member of the Dáil , which I support, but it is appropriate that the Vice Chairman is a Member of the Seanad. As far as this Oireachtas is concerned, both Houses have equal status and this is a step in the right direction in that regard.

I look forward to working with the very experienced Deputy Durkan. Let me assure members that like the Chairman, I will be totally impartial when called to take the Chair. I know I will not be called too often to take the Chair.

I thank Senator Leyden.

I congratulate Senator Terry Leyden. I offer him my full support and co-operation in the course of whatever deliberations he may be called to perform in the course of the period ahead, be it long or short. We hope it will be longer rather than shorter.

Let me point out this is a very important time and we must engage in the process of negotiations on Brexit and the future of the European Union and the European project and the ancillary items that will tumble out of the cupboard as we proceed.

Chairman: I thank Deputy Durkan. I propose we suspend the sitting to allow the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Dara Murphy, to come before us.

Sitting suspended at 5.17 p.m. and resumed at 5.18 p.m.