Business of Joint Committee

I remind Members, witnesses and people in the Visitors Gallery that mobile phones must be switched off because they interfere with the broadcasting of proceedings and with the work of members of staff, which is unfair to them.

I formally thank and pay tribute to our outgoing clerk, Mr. Paul Kelly, who is leaving us to go to a different section of the Houses of the Oireachtas. He has been a very watchful, careful and excellent clerk and has with dealt with many sensitive issues in private and public sessions. To me, as Chairman of the committee, he has been a source of strength and has become a very good friend. I thank him most sincerely for his stewardship of the committee.

I welcome to our family of the Committee on Health and Children, which is what we are to be fair, Mr. Ronan Murphy who is joining us from the Local Government Management Agency. He is very welcome and I wish him a happy tenure with us. He will find we are an eclectic bunch of people. He will also find we have a very good work ethic and a strong sense of what is right as a committee, both in private and in public. I welcome him to the committee and thank Mr. Paul Kelly most sincerely.

I add to the words expressed by the Chairman. Paul has been very diligent in his work and responsibilities. He has been hugely personable and supportive to me and to all the members, without exception. That is my knowledge of it and I thank him sincerely. I wish him all the very best in his future career in this institution.

I wish Mr. Ronan Murphy well. I also welcome the new Secretary General of the Department who is not a stranger to this room. I wish Mr. Breslin every success in his new role and responsibilities.

I, too, thank Paul for helping me to learn the ropes, especially at the beginning, and for telling me what we can and cannot do.

He gave the Senator bad habits.

I thank him very much. This committee has dealt with some very significant and very sensitive issues and his guidance has been very useful. I thank him for that.

I welcome Mr. Murphy and hope he finds us a good team. We tend to work quite well and across party on the issues. Health and rights of children are our priority on which we work well.

I also welcome Mr. Breslin with a slightly saddened heart because he will be missed from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. I congratulate him and it is excellent to see him take up this new position.

On behalf of us all in the Fine Gael group, I thank Paul for all his help. He has been very helpful to me on a number of occasions and I always found he was only a phone call away. Above all I thank him for the work he did during the debates on the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill, and everything we asked for he provided. Finally, I always loved his coloured ties.

I thank Paul for all the work he has done. Organising all the witnesses for the public hearings was not an easy task. He did the work very efficiently. The public hearings were very balanced as the views of everyone directly or indirectly involved were presented. I thank Paul and all the staff, but particularly Paul, for their contribution. I wish him well in his new role.

I welcome Mr. Murphy and look forward to working with him. I also welcome Mr. Breslin and wish him every success in his new appointment. I am sure there are many challenges in the area of health and I have no doubt he has the experience and expertise to deal with them over the next few years.

I wish Paul the best going forward. He was a fantastic help to me in the compilation of my report when I was rapporteur on obesity for the committee. He will be a big loss and I wish him the best of luck. Mr. Breslin is in for a tough time over the next couple of years and I wish him the best of luck going forward.

I concur with all the sentiments expressed by my fellow Deputies and Senators and wish Paul the very best. This is a great committee because, as Senator van Turnhout has said, we put the care of people first rather than our political parties. We have worked very well as a committee. Paul has played a huge part in that work and he has been helpful to us in every way, being only a phone call away. I wish him all the best.

I welcome Mr. Murphy who has big shoes to fill. I also welcome Mr. Breslin and wish him the best in his new role.

We will talk to Paul after the meeting.