——has much to look forward to. I would love to be able to facilitate Members in the many issues they raised. However, time will not allow me to do so. On the one hand, there is a very fortunate group of Senators with safe seats, while on the other, there is a group whose members will be obliged to work hard to gain re-election. I have a balancing act to carry out today and I am afraid that I must make legislation a priority in terms of our business. I hope those Members who are not standing for re-election will understand why that is the case.
I have enjoyed working relationships with the leaders of the various groups over the years. I thank the leaders for their understanding in respect of the Order Paper which we have scrutinised and on which we have obtained consensus because that is the order of the day. I welcome the support I have received here on my first day back as Leader.
Senators Michael Finucane, Joe O'Toole, Brendan Ryan, John Dardis, Labhrás Ó Murchú, Paul Coghlan, Maurice Cummins, David Norris, Ann Ormonde, Camillus Glynn, Shane Ross, Maurice Hayes, Jim Higgins, Feargal Quinn, John Hanafin and John Paul Phelan expressed their kind regards to the Cathaoirleach. This is very appropriate on this historic day for him and his family.
Certain Senators expressed their horror at the news we all heard on the radio yesterday of the cocaine seizure off the Cork coast. The amount quoted was €50 million. This figure then increased to €70 million, €100 million and €110 million. We are now told the amount could be considerably in excess of this. Horrifying stories have emerged in respect of the activities in which some people have been participating off the coast of Cork. We all abhor what has happened, including what is certainly the largest drugs find ever in the history of the State. Members of this House involved in the medical profession have fired warning shots on the Order of Business today. We certainly support the Government, the Minister and everyone else, including the Garda Síochána and the Garda Commissioner, in their fight against the terrible plague of drug abuse in our country.
I certainly took the views of Senators Dardis, Norris and Ross into account in respect of inviting the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy John Gormley, to the House at the earliest opportunity to discuss the future role of the Seanad. Various reports have been produced. I agree that we should have no more reports and that we need action in this regard. The Seanad plays a very meaningful role. The message is going out loud and clear on "Oireachtas Report". Were it not for this programme, this House would be at a terrible disadvantage. The quality of debate and the standard of participation from Members on all sides of the House is second to none. Having been a Member of both Houses, I certainly speak with considerable experience.
During the period from 1997 to 2002, more than 30% of all legislation was initiated in this House. That was begun in the period from 1997 to 2002.