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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 15 Jun 1994

Vol. 140 No. 14

Tributes to Senators.

I warmly congratulate Senator Crowley on his marvellous success in the European elections. While the House is very pleased for you, Brian, it will miss your many contributions, especially in your role as your party's spokesperson on Justice.

I commiserate with Senator Gallagher and Senator Dardis who both performed very well. All three Senators gave Members on all sides of the House an added interest in three of the four constituencies where the European elections were held on 9 June 1994.

Well done to all concerned; the House commends the work these three Members have done for the Seanad.

While I am aware that all Senators wish to commend each candidate, it has been agreed that one Member from each group will comment.

I congratulate Senator Crowley on his magnificent success and commiserate with Senator Gallagher and Senator Dardis. All three Members were a great credit to the Seanad.

I warmly congratulate Senator Crowley. He fought a magnificent campaign. Those of us who have known him since he came to this House were not surprised and we are pleased that the voters of Munster saw in him the same qualities that were evident to us. To Senator Gallagher and Senator Dardis I would say that politics is a rough business. They both fought excellent campaigns and, hopefully, there will be a second chance for them, maybe in the not too distant future. May I also compliment Senator Paddy Burke for the magnificent part he played in delivering such a huge vote in Mayo West. Might I say that we will be expecting no less from Senator Cregan in the very near future. I hope we will not have to wait 18 months for the vacancy that exists in the Seanad, as well as the impending vacancy, to be filled.

I understand that all the major parties are having post-mortems into the squall of democracy that upset the ship of Government, in the case of the Fine Gael Party it is a post-natal examination. In offering congratulations to all the candidates from the Independent benches, we note that in a number of places, not least Bundoran, County Donegal, the Independents have gained a majority on their urban councils. We welcome this great movement forward towards independence.

Is the Senator claiming credit for that as well?

The three candidates from this House acquitted themselves superbly in the European elections. I am glad there is support from all sides of the House for Members who stand for election because it puts people at the level of politics where we want them to be, moving up and down within different structures. In offering special congratulations to Senator Crowley I noticed that during the election a number of the more conservative voters of North Tipperary asked him if he would cut his hair. I do not know whether he has given a commitment to have a haircut before approaching Strasbourg but whether he does so or not, there is no doubt that he has gone from being a hippy to a yuppie with no intervening period. Congratulations.

It takes one to know one.

On behalf of the Labour Party I would also like to congratulate our three Senators for the fine campaigns they ran, and particularly Senator Brian Crowley on his success in Munster. I met him early in the campaign and he told me how well it was going and how well he was going to do. Little did I believe that he would do so well. At that time he even did not believe he would so well although he did assure me that he was going to be elected. Obviously, he proved to be extremely popular throughout the length and breadth of Munster. I would also like to congratulate my colleague, Senator Ann Gallagher, for a fine performance in Connaught-Ulster and for substantially increasing the Labour percentage of the vote in that constituency. I also wish to congratulate Senator John Dardis in Leinster.

I find myself in a curious situation. I do not know whether or not to congratulate myself on behalf of my party. However, Senator Crowley's achievement is stupendous. He can take great pride in what he has achieved. We wish him well in the European Parliament and, hopefully, we may see him here at a future date when Members of the European Parliament will be able to address this House. I also want to congratulate Senator Gallagher on her performance in Connaught-Ulster. Senator Manning said that we may have another election, but I hope it will not be too soon.

So does he.

I can say that with great feeling. I would also like to congratulate Members who were elected to UDCs and Town Commissions, including yourself, a Chathaoirligh.

I do not know whether you spoke as a candidate or as a spokesperson for your party but, in fairness, I think I should call Senator Gallagher before calling Senator Crowley. I am sure they would both like to say something.

I was not expecting that, a Chathaoirligh, you are so kind. I would like to add my congratulations to Senator Brian Crowley. I have not yet had a chance to speak with him personally but I was more than impressed with his contributions to this House, as we all were. He will be missed in the Seanad but no doubt he will go on to greater things in Europe. I also know what Senator Dardis has been through. We will rest for a while.

I thank you, a Chathaoirligh, and the House for the kind and warm words expressed here. Senator O'Toole said I have gone from being a hippy to a yuppie, but I feel more like a pup because everyone loves me.

I congratulate Senator Gallagher for her tremendous showing in Connacht-Ulster, which is a very difficult constituency, and Senator Dardis who again proved to be a formidable candidate and did tremendously well in his second European election. I hope the profile of the Seanad has been raised by having three Senators standing in the European elections, that this will reflect well on the House and that the media and the public will realise the importance of the House and the type of contributions made here.

I hope more coverage will be given to the House because it is a very important forum. This can be seen not only from matters relating to Government but from the way we have led the debate on Northern Ireland in the Oireachtas to date. I hope I will be back here in future to relate to Members my experiences in Europe. We need linkages between the Houses of the Oireachtas and the European Parliament to ensure there is full understanding and awareness of the role of MEPs.