As the position of Vice Chairman is now vacant, Standing Orders provide that, as soon as may be after the election of the Chairman, the committee shall select one of its members to be Vice Chairman. I therefore call for nominations.
Election of Vice Chairman
I nominate Senator Aideen Hayden.
I second that nomination.
As there are no other nominations, I declare Senator Aideen Hayden to be Vice Chairman.
I wish the Chairman and the Vice Chairman well in assuming their roles. I commend the outgoing Chairman, Deputy Ciarán Lynch, on the fantastic work he has done on the committee and wish him well in his work at the banking inquiry. I also thank the outgoing Vice Chairman. This is a constructive committee which deals with a wide range of issues and I have no doubt that the Chairman will command it with the normal authority.
I thank the members of the committee for their warm comments and thank all those who were members of the committee in the past two years. This time two years ago when I became Chairman, I was an unknown quantity. I had not worked with many members previously. It was a steep, interesting and most enjoyable learning curve. I am not departing from the committee completely and would like to maintain involvement and continue the work we have done together. This is the committee which settled on doing a number of things and we did them quite well. Much of it comes down to the role played by the secretariat and the Vice Chairman who supported me during that period. I know that Deputy Liam Twomey will prove to be an effective Chairman and I wish him the best of success. He will have a busy cycle, with the budget about to be landed on us. However, it is something we do every year. I thank every member for the learning I received from the committee. I had chaired other committees, but this was one of the most challenging roles I had taken on. We might not have agreed at all times, but I hope I treated members as fairly as I was able to do. I hope we accomplished a number of things in the past two years. I wish the incoming Chairman and the committee the best of success in the future.
I thank Deputy Ciarán Lynch for the excellent role he played in chairing the committee. It is an interesting, vibrant and cohesive committee and I echo his words about the secretariat. The new Chairman and the previous one worked well together. With the secretariat, the committee has completed an incredible amount of work in the past 12 months.
I would like to be excused, now that I have fulfilled my role in representing the Opposition. As Deputy Pearse Doherty is present, it is fair for me to go to the Chamber to deal with the business of the day.