Business of Seanad

I seek the support of the House to extend Second Stage until 6 p.m., with the Minister to be called for concluding comments at 5.50 p.m. I will be coming back to the House shortly with the up-to-date proposal in regard to matters to be discussed and debated in the House because we now have to process emergency legislation.

To make a helpful proposal, I believe my distinguished colleagues on this side of the House would perhaps agree it is more appropriate to deal with this matter than Private Members' time, which could be deferred to another time.

Yes, we have an agreement.

The Leader has suggested that Second Stage is to be extended to 6 p.m., with the Minister to be called at 5.50 p.m. Is that agreed? Agreed.

On a point of order, in order to facilitate this, we on this side of the House have agreed to shorten our Private Members' time from 6 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. rather than taking the normal two hours.

Can I clarify that Committee Stage of the Civil Partnership Bill will commence at 8 p.m.?

Will the Leader clarify this point?

It is proposed that Committee Stage will commence at 8.15 p.m. The emergency legislation will commence at 7.45 p.m. following Private Members' time. I thank Fine Gael, in particular Senators Cummins and Fitzgerald as well as all colleagues, leaders and Whips, for their assistance and understanding of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

I advise the House that we have agreed on the procedure up to 6 p.m. As the House will deal with subsequent timings and debates at 6 p.m., there need be no further debate at this stage.

Will the Leader circulate information on the emergency legislation that is being brought forward?

That matter will be dealt with at 6 p.m.

On a point of order, can we ask the Leader what is the emergency legislation?

That will be dealt with at 6 p.m. We are dealing with what has been agreed. I call Senator Fitzgerald to resume.