Gnó an tSeanaid - Business of Seanad

I propose that the House suspend until 6.15 p.m.

There has been a mistake. The Order of Business was that the Committee Stage of the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill was to continue after this for two hours.

Until 5.50 p.m. The Minister has to go to the Dáil for a Topical Issue matter.

It was to continue for two hours.

It was to continue after this. That is the Order of Business.

Will we continue, then?

Originally, we were to continue after this for seven hours. It was proposed that that be changed to three and a half hours, and then to two hours.

Does the Minister have his officials?

I do not wish any disrespect to the House, but I have been given notice that a Topical Issue matter has been raised in the Lower House on the Majella Moynihan case. It may well be misinterpreted were I not in a position to attend.

I beg the indulgence of the House.

I have a commitment at 7.30 p.m.

The suspension would be until 6.15 p.m.

So, it would be two hours.

That is not what was agreed on the Order of Business.

I am trying to facilitate the Minister.

I know, but that would bring us to 8.30 p.m. and I have to be out of here by 7.30 p.m.

Could we facilitate the Minister in the Dáil for this important matter?

I would facilitate him anyway, but we did not agree that this would go from 6.30 p.m. until 8.30 p.m. There will be votes, and many Members will be inconvenienced.

I understand the Leader indicated on the Order of Business that there is a Topical Issue debate in Dáil Éireann that the Minister has a responsibility to attend and address. The two hours were agreed then. I am trying to contact the Leader now but my understanding is that those two hours commence at 6.15 p.m.

That is not my understanding. If the Minister has to attend the Dáil Chamber for an important matter then we should facilitate that. We could, however, start the debate, then suspend-----

We cannot start the debate-----

We could start the debate now and then suspend to allow the Minister to attend the Dáil. He can then come back to this House. It is only right and proper that we finish at 7.30 p.m.

I understand that was not agreed on the Order of Business.

It is clear what was agreed on the Order of Business. The debate on the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017 should follow this business and conclude after two hours.

There was no starting time.

There is no starting time.

It is within the Acting Chair's discretion to make a ruling.

I understand. The House agreed to adjourn at 5. 50 p.m., if the Criminal Justice (Mutual Recognition of Probation Judgments and Decisions) Bill 2018 had not previously concluded. It was also agreed that the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017 was to be taken not earlier than 6.15 p.m.

I am sorry. I did not know that.

The acting Leader can now propose a suspension.

I propose the House suspends until 6.15 p.m.

It is not agreed but there we are.

We cannot vote on this matter because it has already been agreed on the Order of Business.

It was not agreed.

That is not my understanding of what was agreed to on the Order of Business.

It is within the power of the Acting Chair to make a ruling.

The proposal the House agreed to was to take the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017 at 6.15 p.m. If the House decides not to suspend-----

No, that is not what-----

On a point of order-----

-----Members will simply sit here-----

-----I clearly indicated when I was reading out the Order of Business earlier that the Minister for Justice and Equality would be required in the Lower House to deal with a Topical Issue matter of a sensitive nature. I asked this House to allow for the Minister attending that debate.

The Minister wishes to go now.

If this was in the diaries of Members, then it is a poor sign of the House.

(Interruptions).

When the clock stops ticking.

The Minister is entirely free to go and he is due to be back here at 6.15 p.m.

The House does not have to suspend. We are still sitting.

It will make no difference to the start time of 6.15 p.m. if the House decides to suspend or not.

I am sorry but I did not hear that.

Whether the House decides to suspend or not, the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017 will not start until 6.15 p.m. The debate will go on for two hours.

The debate goes on for two hours-----

That is fine. That is what was agreed.

-----and starts at 6.15 p.m.

Yes, that is correct.

Is it proposed to suspend the House?

I propose we suspend until the Minister concludes his Topical Issue matter debate in the Lower House. If he is not finished at 6.15 p.m., we will resume when he has concluded.

Is it proposed to suspend the House until 6.15 p.m.?

I propose we suspend until 6.15 p.m. We can then re-evaluate in light of the progress of the Topical Issue debate in the Lower House.

Sitting suspended at 5.44 p.m. and resumed at 6.15 p.m.