Gnó an tSeanaid - Business of Seanad

Arising from the election of Senator Grace O'Sullivan to the European Parliament and the taking up by her of her seat yesterday, a casual vacancy has occurred in the membership of the Seanad.

I give a warm welcome to Senator Lawless's family who are home from Chicago. If my vision is right, I can see his wife Anne; daughters, Clodagh and Amy; sons, John and Paul; their partners, Colm, Cynthia and Julie; and his grandchildren. I recently met the former Taoiseach, Deputy Enda Kenny. We spoke about the diaspora and the appointment of Senator Lawless. I said it was not before time that that was done. There is talk about restructuring the Seanad. As somebody who emigrated and at one stage had seven members of my family abroad, I believe that one Member for the entire diaspora in America and Great Britain is insufficient. I suggest it should be at least three whenever the Seanad is reformed down the line. We reach out to them and they reach out to us.

The appointment of Senator Lawless was significant. He has been an extremely important Senator-----

----- offering a great link to Capitol Hill and Washington generally. I believe he only emigrated approximately 20 years ago. Apart from being a pleasant man, he was successful in Galway and when he moved to America with his wife, Anne, and their family, he was more successful there. I wish him every success and good health in the future. It is great that his family is here today. As Cathaoirleach, I am very happy and proud to welcome them all here. I hope they have a wonderful day. I am sure Senator Lawless's kindness and gratitude will extend to all of them during the day.

Not before time, I call the Leader to outline the business for the day.