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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 30 May 1984

Vol. 104 No. 2

Order of Business.

It is proposed to take items Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 and to suspend the sitting between 5.30 and 6.30 p.m. and to take item No. 4 from 6.30 to 8 p.m. unless, which is highly unlikely, it has already been reached.

I should like to draw the attention of Members of the Seanad to the fact that it has been stated in the newspapers this morning that those who are opposed to the visit of the President of the United States to this country——

That does not arise.

It has been stated that they are sincere, well-intentioned——

We had something similar last week which was not in order.

I maintain that we are not misguided. It is because we are informed that we protest. This House must appreciate that those of us who protest are protesting on the grounds——

The Senator should please resume his seat.

——that we are a non-nuclear country. We are for neutrality and we are against the exploitation of the ecology of this universe.

There was an opportunity to discuss this but it does not arise now.

I hope it will be recorded that I have very serious misgivings about what was said and the implication that we are misguided. We are certainly not misguided.

I do not know if it is appropriate on the Order of Business to mention the fact that the bells calling Members to this House are not ringing in the appropriate places. In the precincts of this House one can just hear them. It is most unfair to Members who are expected to respond to divisions and so on that they are unable to hear the bells.

There was some deficiency in the College of Art building but a man went around to warn the Members when we heard of the deficiency.

They did not ring in the dining room or in the Library.

We will look into that.

Once you hear them later this evening that will be all right.

In view of the suppression of the right to protest, which has confined all of the protests to the back streets and the side streets, is there any way in which Members of the Oireachtas can make their views known, since Senator Robb obviously was out of order? Is there any way we can make our views known in view of the fact that public protest has been confined to the back streets by deliberate Government policy?

The Senator is well aware of procedures of the House. We have already discussed this and most people made their views known.

I protest against the use being made of this House. This particular Seanad has been allocated more time for Private Members' Business than any Seanad I can remember. My participation goes back to 1961. Well over 30 per cent of the time of this House is devoted to Private Members' Business. We have already had — at the instigation of the Independent group in this House — a full debate on the question of the proposed visit of the President of the United States. I wish to protest on behalf of, I am sure, the vast majority of the Members of the Seanad, at this continuous, disorderly interruption of our proceedings.

I should like——

The Senator cannot speak again.

Order of Business agreed to.