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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 3 Jul 1985

Vol. 108 No. 13

Order of Business.

It is proposed to order Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and for safety's sake to add No. 6. It is proposed that we should suspend the sitting from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and that No. 4 will be taken at 2 p.m. if not earlier reached.

On the Order of Business, I am glad that today we are discussing legislation rather than reports of committees. Until today, it would appear to outsiders that we were discussing reports of committees which had no relevance at all to what will eventually happen in legislation. Having said that on the Order of Business, it may be out of order, but could I pay a compliment to a person who has been made an honorary member of the Press Gallery, Noel Conway, who has served this House very well over the years? He has been made an honorary life member of the Press Gallery of the Houses of the Oireachtas. Sometimes we may not agree with what he has reported from this House but, in all fairness, he has had the interests of this House totally at heart. He is one of the people who have kept this House in the public eye in a certain sense, particularly in the written media. He has not been here for the past couple of weeks. I sincerely hope that the members of the press have not moved him sideways so that we will not see him again in this House. Whatever area he has gone to, I would like to say that he has served this House extremely well and whether he is here as a visitor or a working journalist he will be very welcome in the House.

On behalf of the Government side of the House, I would like to be identified with the remarks made by Senator Lanigan about Noel Conway. He has been a faithful attender in this House. Recently I talked to him and he told me he was demoted to the other House. His preference for this House was obvious in his remarks. He always reported fairly what happened here and it was not his fault if the editorial staff in the newspapers did not always print what he recorded as having taken place here.

In that regard I suppose it might be appropriate to say that the Seanad gets a very poor showing in many of the papers. There are a couple of exceptions. I do not want to name papers. It is not the fault of the journalists who are sitting here because they record dutifully what takes place here. Much legislation has been initiated in this House, and debated here at length, but it is only when it arrives in the other House that it seems to be recorded by the media. It is rather a pity that the media treat this House in that way. Noel Conway was a believer in this House and recorded it faithfully. It was not his fault if the paper concerned did not always carry it. It is appropriate that the media should take account of the importance of this House and Members should respond and show their appreciation by their attendance here. That does not apply to anybody who is here now. People should show by their attendance here at all times the importance of the House. I refer particularly to our absent colleagues who normally are very active on the Order of Business.

Is it proposed to take all stages of the Combat Poverty Agency Bill?

First, Senator Lanigan welcomed the fact that we have legislation today. We have legislation because it is Wednesday. We have been operating the system for some time past with an attempt to deal with legislation on a Wednesday and normally deal with Motions on Thursday. Because, in fact, we were sitting on Tuesday rather than Thursday this is the reason why in this particular week we dealt first with Motions. Certainly it is intended that this should be the pattern that should continue and we will endeavour to arrange the business in such a way that legislation will be discussed on a Wednesday. On Thursday there may be an overspill of legislative work from Wednesday. But along with that the House will be dealing with Motions. I think it is important that the new committee system of the Houses of the Oireachtas should be fully operated and that the reports of the Joint Committees should be debated.

Regarding the query from Senator Fallon, it is proposed to take only the Committee Stage of the Combat Poverty Agency Bill, but it is also intended that the Report Stage will be taken before the end of this session.

Order of Business agreed to.