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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 15 May 1968

Vol. 64 No. 16

Order of Business.

It is proposed to take Nos. 8, 2, 1 and 6. It is proposed to terminate the sitting at 6 p.m.

Could we have some explanation as to why we are finishing at 6 p.m. ?

The Minister, unfortunately, has a prior commitment after 6 p.m. and will not be available.

Will the House meet tomorrow?

Do I understand that we are having three hours, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., not being used at all because one Minister is not available? There are several motions on the Order Paper.

There are no Ministers available for the said motions today.

I feel that for the third time in succession this House really is being treated in a cavalier manner in relation to these motions. We will be faced with them at the end of July and they will be rushed through or skipped. I do not think the Leader of the House is being fair to the House.

That is the Senator's opinion.

Is it intended that the House will meet next Wednesday or, if not, on Tuesday ?

I did not get the Senator.

Is it intended to meet next Wednesday and, if not——

The Seanad will meet on Wednesday week.

If there is any good reason why not——

The Seanad will meet on 29th May and will get down to a long series of discussions on a long series of Bills.

We raised the question of the Biafran motion and left it to the Leader of the House to give us information as to when it would be taken because we did not want to press is unfairly without adequate notice. We were told——

I indicated to the Seanad last week that as far as I was concerned I did not think it appropriate to have that motion discussed and it would be most inappropriate now when peace negotiations are proceeding in Biafra.

The peace negotiations are in progress but the war is also in progress and from what we have heard of it from our own correspondents and from correspondents of English newspapers there is a threat of genocide and the practice of genocide——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

We cannot have the substance of the motion discussed on the Order of Business.

I am rebutting the point made by the Leader of the House which is, no doubt, equally out of order. This is a matter of urgency. The peace negotiations are going on and so is the war. The war has not been stopped.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

If the Senator wishes to propose a variation to the Order of Business he may do so.

I propose that the motion on Biafra be taken today.

Before that motion is put to the House, I understand from the Leader of the House that this day fortnight is the earliest the Seanad will meet again. In view of the amount of business to be completed before the House rises, would it not be possible to persuade some of the Ministers to offer themselves, to volunteer occasionally to come into the House? In that respect I suggest that if there are motions on the Order Paper which Senators are not prepared to take in order or which they wish to switch, like the particular one referred to by Senator FitzGerald, in circumstances where motions are by-passed by Members would the Leader of the House at that stage agree to take those motions which the movers are ready to go on with? Motion No. 14 has been on the Order Paper for some time and it would appear that the motions prior to it are not being moved. In these circumstances, would the Leader of the House be able to indicate when a Minister will be available to take that motion?

There is no question at all of whether it is possible for Ministers to volunteer to appear in the House. The position is that on three recent occasions I had arranged for the taking of three different motions and I informed those concerned that they would be scheduled for the next day but I was told they would not be available—that they had other commitments. On the other matter it is a question for the Committee of Procedure and Privileges.

Will the Leader of the House give the names of the Senators in question and the motions?

He has said that three motions were not taken because the proposers were not available.

I can assure the Senator that his was not one of them.

A statement has been made in the House and it should be substantiated so as to remove any impression that it might be a figment of the imagination of the Leader of the House.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The suggestion that the Leader of the House would make such a statement when there was not substance in it is not in order.

Are we not entitled to ask that it be substantiated?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senators have a right to make a single speech on the Order of Business and to propose a variation on the Order of Business but beyond that they have not any right at this stage of the proceedings.

There are five motions on the Order Paper and we have been told that one of them is one in which the mover is not available. There are only four left and with three of these I am associated. I am not aware of not being available on any occasion to move the motions and, therefore, I must ask the Leader of the House to name the Senators he has mentioned and the motions concerned.

I support Senator FitzGerald and Senator Sheehy Skeffington. We should have the names of the Senators associated with the motions.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

There is a proposal to take items Nos. 8, 2, 1 and 6 on the Order Paper and that we take the adjournment at 6 p.m. There has been an amendment proposed to this that item No. 15 on the Order Paper be added to the Order of Business.

I take it that the Leader of the House, not having substantiated the allegation he made, is withdrawing it.

No. Senator FitzGerald is one, Senator Murphy is another and Senator O'Quigley is another.

My name has been mentioned. That was in connection with the motion dealing with the training of agricultural personnel and the date suggested by the Leader of the House did not suit me but I came along and took the motion.

That was on a previous occasion.

We formally deny that we have postponed in any way the motions to which our names are attached.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The amendment before the House is that item No. 15 be added to the Order of Business. Will those who support the amendment please stand ?

Senators Garret FitzGerald, Murphy, Quinlan, Malone and Dr. Sheehy Skeffington rose.

Question put: "That item No. 15 be added to the Order of Business".
The Seanad divided: Tá, 13; Níl, 20.

  • Conlan, John F.
  • FitzGerald, Garret M. D.
  • McDonald, Charles.
  • McHugh, Vincent.
  • McQuillan, Jack.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • Mannion, John.
  • Murphy, Dominick F.
  • O'Quigley, John B.
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Quinlan, Patrick M.
  • Rooney, Éamon.
  • Sheehy Skeffington, Owen L.


  • Ahern, Liam.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brennan, John J.
  • Brosnahan, Seán.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Cole, John C.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Flanagan, Thomas P.
  • Honan, Dermot P.
  • Martin, James J.
  • Ó Conalláin, Dónall.
  • Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
  • Ó Maoláin, Tomás.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick (Longford).
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Teehan, Patrick J.
  • Yeats, Michael.
Tellers: Tá, Senators FitzGerald and Sheehy Skeffington; Níl, Senators Farrell and Ó Donnabháin.
Amendment declared lost.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Order of Business proposed is items 8, 2, 1 and 6 and the adjournment of the Seanad at 6 p.m. Is the Order of Business agreed?

Question put and agreed to.