A Chathaoirligh, may I welcome you back? I presume it is the first time we have seen you collared in such a manner. It is very hard to contain you. It took a collar to put you in a certain amount of containment——
Order of Business.
Do not be too sure. Do not test that.
The House was not the same without you. We are delighted to see you back. It is intended to order Items Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 11 on the Order Paper.
Before I call on the Leader of the other side, I would like to put on record my sincere thanks to the Leas-Chathaoirleach, Senator Charlie McDonald and, indeed, to any temporary Chairpeople who may have done some of my hours while I was out of this House. As regards the Leaders, I will have to come back to them. I think it is lovely when you can tell a story against yourself and I find no trouble in doing so. Somebody said to me the other afternoon after I came of hospital that they did not think I needed support for my neck.
Before I talk on the Order of Business may I also join with the Leader of the House in welcoming you back? Even though you had a most competent and charming substitute, the place was not the same without you. We are all very glad to see you back. I do not think we are taking your collar as any indication that the full rigour and vigour of your Chairing will not apply as heretofore.
I agree to the Order of Business. I am somewhat curious as to the way in which Item No. 11 will be taken and at what stage today. Perhaps the Leader of the House could illuminate that aspect for us. On the Order of Business also — I beg your indulgence for a moment on this and when you hear me out you will probably think it is appropriate — I hesitate very much to discuss the internal affairs of RTE or their scheduling, but a change is taking place and is about to take place which I think has important implications. That is the attempt to move the programme "Mo Cheol Thú" on to VHF, Radio 3. I do not want to comment on internal programming, but this programme is one of the jewels in the crown of RTE.
The point I am raising is that it is received by a great number of Irish people in Britain. I have had considerable representations from Irish people in Britain who greatly value this programme and who will not be able to receive it on the VHF transmission. The view I am expressing that this programme should be left where it is is a view which, I think, will find agreement in all parts of the House.
On behalf of the Independent Senators, I would like to welcome you back and to wish you a very speedy recovery. While you were away we missed your style and panache even though you were very ably represented and your job was very ably carried out by the Leas-Chathaoirleach. We certainly have been wondering whether or not we should take advantage of the fact that you may be slightly indisposed at the moment, or whether we should actually be very careful with you here. The general view is, indeed, that you will be well able to continue and well able to control us despite our best efforts on this side of the House. We welcome you back and look forward to discussions, arguments with you and working with you for the next period of time. We hope that is the end of your illness.
I would also like to welcome the fact that the Leader of the House is ordering Item No. 11 on the Order Paper. Thank you very much.
I have no problem with the Order of Business. I want to join with our colleagues in welcoming you back to the House after your short term away. I do not suppose you will need to continue to wear your collar for too long. I said on the day of your appointment that you did not need any insulation for your neck. You are tough and while the collar is temporary I hope it will be removed quickly. I welcome you back. You were deputised for in your absence, but I do not think you were replaced.
On the Order of Business, may I also associate myself with those remarks? I am sure I am speaking for all my colleagues on this side of the House. As someone who is in regular contact with the Irish in Britain, I would also like to concur with Senator Manning's remarks about the radio programme. I know how important this programme and others on RTE are to them.
I would also like to convey to the Leader of the House — I know I speak for the overwhelming majority of the people in this country — the marvellous feeling of elation we felt last week when Ireland qualified for the European finals in Germany. A little blight was cast over it because of Liam Brady. Perhaps the Minister might convey to the——
With the greatest respect, you are all telling me that you hope that this does not take effect and that does not take effect. Would you sit down because this has nothing got to do with the business of the House?
Could the Minister with responsibility for sport assist the FAI in getting Liam Brady to play in Germany next summer?
It does not arise.
A Chathaoirligh, I promise to be less obstreperous. Could I just add my words to the comments made by everybody in welcoming you back? It is good to see you again. You look in fine fettle to me. I also support my colleague, Senator Manning, in his comments on "Mo Cheol Thú" in relation to the obvious benefit and enjoyment this programme gives to Irish people in Britain. It is part of all our Sundays. That gentle, almost soporific voice early on Sunday morning means a great deal to all of us. For that reason I would hate to think——
I accept that. I allowed Senator Manning to get away with it, and I can appreciate how you feel.
I would like to echo the great pleasure we all have in seeing you reinstated in your properly appointed sphere and to say how very glad we are that you are looking so well.
On the Order of Business, Senator O'Toole and myself are very pleased that it has been decided to allow the introduction of Item No. 11 on the Order Paper —"Bill entitled an Act to amend the Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1986". As a result of this, it will be our intention to withdraw Item No. 42:
That Seanad Éireann in the exercise of the powers conferred on it by Section 13 of the undermentioned Act declares that the Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1987 shall not come into operation on the 1st day of December, 1987.
Senator O'Toole and myself feel that, in the circumstances, although the Bill that it is our intention to introduce will not meet all our reservations about this, it is important that we all act in a most mature, balanced and statesmanlike way and that we do nothing to interfere with the smooth movement of Government and the attempt to conduct a proper foreign policy, despite the fact that we still have some reservations.
I have taken your point and I do not want to hear the rest of the speech.
Can the Leader of the House give some indication of a date on which motion No. 45 concerning the fate of refuseniks and of the Jewish population in Russia who wish to leave the Soviet Union will be taken? I understand some weeks ago he gave an indication of an approximate date. I would like an indication of this, because I wish to take further briefings. Senator Lanigan will note, I am sure, being the observant person he is, that Item No. 45 has been amended in the light of recent developments in Soviet policy. I would like to have some indication of when it is coming.
I would like to say how pleased I am to see you back with us again. I hope that your full recovery is not too far away. On the Order of Business, I would like to ask the Leader of the House, in view of the grave situation which obtains in our prisons whereby the prison officers are not covered by any compensation scheme at the moment if they are injured in the discharge of their duties——
That does not arise at all unless there was some——
I want to ask the Leader of the House, with your permission, if the Government intend to bring in a Bill in this area, because that will have an effect on what the Labour Party intend to do?
I do not think there is any proposed legislation on that one. Could the Leader of the House clarify exactly when Items Nos. 11, 1, 2 and 3 will be taken?
Since item No. 11 is simply the ordering of the First Stage of the Bill, I presume that what happens is that the Bill can be ordered today for a Second Stage reading in the future.
Are you ordering Item No. 11 first?
It is just a simple matter of ordering it, without discussion——
Item No. 11 is ordered, and Items Nos. 1, 2 and 3. Is the Order of Business agreed?
On the question of the prison officers, there is no legislation before us on this matter. Most of us have had a briefing document from the Prison Officer's Association. That will be considered by the Government. I presume that if legislation is necessary it will be implemented. Senator Norris and Senator O'Toole are using their limited time in the Seanad to their best advantage. The withdrawal of Item No. 42 suggests a maturity in politics that I would not have considered possible from two new Senators——
—and the introduction of Item No. 11. As far as "Mo Cheol Thú" is concerned, I am sure we all would consider that any withdrawal by RTE of anything produced by that excellent broadcaster — Ciarán Mac Mathúna — should be deplored. We will express to RTE the views of the House on this matter. I do not know if there was any other question. Somebody attracted my attention when Senator Ferris was speaking, but I do not think Senator Ferris asked a question.
I did not.
There is one question the Leader of the House has omitted in his enthusiasm about our maturity. Unlike my colleague, I will be very happy to accept his compliment. It is not an area in which I am normally complimented. Perhaps we could have some guidance in regard to Item No. 45.
I assume the Senator is referring to a motion mentioned by Senator Mooney. We may have to bring in the aforementioned suspension for certain people if they continue to misuse the House. I can guarantee that we will take Item No. 45 in the very near future. I cannot give an exact date now, but we will get to it within the next three weeks.