Appointment of Clerk of Seanad Éireann

Before I call our esteemed Leader, Senator Jerry Buttimer, to outline the business of the day, I would like to make a brief but very important announcement. It is an historic occasion for this Seanad. I announce formally for the information of the House that, on my recommendation - it is a great honour and privilege for me as Cathaoirleach - the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission today appointed Mr. Martin Groves as Clerk of Seanad Éireann in accordance with the Staff of the Houses of the Oireachtas Act 1959, as amended. On a personal level, I wish Martin the very best. He is very professional and has been acting Clerk for approximately two and a half years. I hope he will in some way emulate the longevity of his predecessor who I think was Clerk for 24 years and prior to that Clerk Assistant for about five years. He has a hard act to follow, but I wish him well. Some people had been complaining, rightly so, that we had no Clerk of the Seanad and that Martin had been acting Clerk for some months. In that regard, the shortage of staff took from the impetus of the work we were trying to do. It is a great day for Martin and his family and I hope he will enjoy it.