Business of Seanad.

I have received notice from Senator Henry that, on the motion for the Adjournment of the House today, she proposes to raise the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Health and Children to introduce legislation to allow emer gency medical technicians to administer drugs to patients where appropriate.

I regard the matter raised by the Senator as suitable for discussion on the Adjournment and it will be taken at the conclusion of business.

Since today is probably the last day on which I will be sitting in this Chair, I would like to make a brief statement. It has been a great honour and privilege to have been a Member of Seanad Éireann for the past 21 years and to have served as Cathaoirleach for the past five years. I thank Members on all sides of the House for their friendship, support and co-operation over the years and, in particular, during the term of this Seanad. I express my appreciation and gratitude to all members of the staff of the House for their support, assistance and courtesy over the years. I especially thank the Clerk of the Seanad, Ms Deirdre Lane, and the Clerk Assistant, Ms Jody Blake, for their loyalty, efficiency and dedication during all the time that I have worked with them. They made my job very easy.

I wish good luck and success to all those Senators who are looking forward to being Members of the new Seanad. They are all deserving of success. It would be remiss of me if I did not pay a special tribute to those Members who have indicated that they are not seeking re-election or will be joining me in retirement. The House and the country will certainly be the poorer as a result of the departure from public life of such distinguished colleagues as Senator Hanafin, the father of the House, Senator Cosgrave, Leas-Chathaoirleach and former Cathaoirleach, whom I thank for his co-operation and assistance over the past five years, Senator Manning, who was a distinguished Leader of the House and is current leader of the Opposition, Senator Lanigan, another former distinguished Leader of the House, Senator Farrell, an assistant Whip for a long time in this Seanad and the Whip in more recent times, as well as Senators Doyle, McDonagh, Quill and Leonard, who have also indicated that they will not seek re-election. I extend good wishes to all of them. To those retiring, I wish a long, healthy and happy retirement and thank them on behalf of the House for the huge contribution which they have made over the years to public life. Go raibh maith agaibh go léir.

Before introducing the Order of Business, I join the Cathaoirleach in congratulating the Members who have been elected to the Dáil from the Seanad and welcome to the House and congratulate Senator O'Rourke and Senator Mackin. I am glad they gave their prior consent before the Taoiseach appointed them. I look forward to their contributions.

The Cathaoirleach thanked various individuals whom I will also thank. It would be wrong if this occasion were to pass without paying particular tribute to the Cathaoirleach for the work he has done during the past five years. It would be the general consensus of the House that he has been an outstanding Cathaoirleach – always impartial, even-handed and good humoured. I do not think he has ever had cause to send anybody packing.


He was quite correct to do so.

We were quite delighted.

Am I wrong in suggesting there was no division on that issue? I am pleased that if I go astray, the former Leader of the House, whom I congratulate on being elected to the Dáil, is present to keep an eye on me and guide me through this process. The House owes the Cathaoirleach tremendous gratitude. He has been a great ambassador for it domestically and internationally. We wish him well in his retirement.

I also single out Senator Hanafin who is retiring after 41 years of distinguished service. I am sure he takes great satisfaction in the promotion of his daughter, which was well deserved. I congratulate Senator Farrell who is now leader of the Fianna Fáil group in the Seanad. I thank him, the other Whips and Members for their co-operation.

I also single out Senator Manning on the Opposition benches for the contribution he has made, not only to this Seanad, but also to successive Seanads and Irish life, which is highly significant. He has been a marvellous representative for his party. It is a matter of some regret that he will not be back with us.

I mention the Leas-Chathaoirleach, Senator Cosgrave, the work he has done and the distinguished family name he represents. I also want to single out one other person, my party colleague, Senator Quill, who is retiring.

I join in thanking members of the staff, including the Clerk, Clerk Assistant and everyone else in their office. They work extremely long and hard hours. Many outside these walls do not understand the amount of work they do, particularly when the Houses are sitting. I am sure they have an onerous job with the elections taking place. I thank all the staff of the Houses for the way they look after us and members of the press for the coverage they give to the Houses.

I hope everyone contesting the election or retiring will have all their hopes and wishes fulfilled. I mention Senator Tom Fitzgerald. While we saluted him in the past, it is appropriate to remember him on this occasion.