Before we proceed with the business on the Agenda, there is a matter which affects the independence as well as the powers of the Seanad, but, prior to referring to that, there is one thing I would like to mention. Several Senators have suggested that the present method of seating is inconvenient, and that it would be much more convenient if the benches were arranged in parallel lines to the right and left, leaving the centre of the hall free, and having a cross-bench at the end. So far as I can see, the feeling in favour of such a change is practically unanimous, but I would not like to give directions to have it carried out until I ascertain if there was any feeling against it.
I think your suggestion is a very good one, and is likely to be more convenient when Senators are speaking. They will be able to hear one another better, and probably the seats will be more comfortable. If we find the change does not suit we can alter it again.
I am inclined to think that the present system of seating is suitable enough. Under the suggested change hearing might be more difficult.
In practice I do not think that would arise. So long as the speaker addresses the Chair there will be no difficulty of that kind arising.
Suggested alteration agreed to.