Suspension of Members.

I move: "That Senator O'Toole be suspended from the service of the Seanad."

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The question is: "That Senator O'Toole be suspended from the service of the Seanad". Those in favour say tá, those against say níl. I believe the question is carried.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senator O'Toole, you are suspended from the House. I am asking you to please leave the House.

Under Standing Orders of the House only the Cathaoirleach——

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The sitting is suspended for five minutes.

Sitting suspended at 10 p.m. and resumed at 10.5 p.m.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I must ask Senator O'Toole to leave the House. He has been suspended from the service of the House.

On a point of order, he has not broken the rules of this House. We have had enough arbitrary behaviour in this House in the last three days.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

You will resume your seat.

Senator O'Toole has not been suspended; you do not have the authority to suspend him.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senator Ryan, you will resume your seat.

You do not have the authority to suspend him. You are abusing your position.

On a point of order——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

While the Chair is on his feet, you will resume your seat. The first thing is that Senator O'Toole must leave the House.

On a point of order, under what Standing Order are you exercising this power? It is quite specific in Standing Orders that you have no such power. The Cathaoirleach has the power. If the Cathaoirleach comes into the House——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

We will take the points of order later. I have asked Senator O'Toole to leave the House and he has refused to do so.

Where is the Cathaoirleach?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I am suspending the sitting for five minutes to allow Senator O'Toole to be removed from the House.

I have always accepted the authority of this House and the Standing Orders are quite clear. The Leas-Chathaoirleach does not have the power of the Cathaoirleach to suspend a Senator; further, a Senator may only be suspended after a vote, and there was no vote. I appeal to my colleagues to accept that everybody should comply with the rules of debate for the House.

Sitting suspended at 10.6 p.m. and resumed at 10.10 p.m.

On a point of order, under what Standing Order was Senator O'Toole suspended? He left the House to avoid considerable embarrassment being caused to the staff of the House whom none of us wants to drag into dispute about procedures in this House. I wish to know how Senator O'Toole was suspended from the service of the House without a vote. I am not aware of any procedure under which a Member can be suspended; I have considerable reservations about your authority to suspend anybody in the absence of the Cathaoirleach. On what basis was Senator O'Toole suspended without a vote? We are entitled to know——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I will deal with the matter once the Senator resumes his seat. First, let me refer the Senator to Standing Order No. 11 which, when the Cathaoirleach is absent on official business, gives me authority. Second, I asked the Leader of the House to name the Senator, who was duly named. The question "That Senator O'Toole be suspended from the service of the Seanad" was put. I called on those in favour to say Tá and those against to say Níl. I declared the question carried when there was no dissension. May we move on to amendment No. 2 to the Broadcasting Bill?

On a point of order, that is totally unacceptable.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senator Ross, on a point of order.

No one heard you put that question to the House——

Nobody heard you putting it to a vote.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senator Ross, on a point of order.

No vote was taken in the House. Had anyone been able to hear you, they would immediately have called for a vote. Senator O'Toole has been improperly suspended by the House and this is unacceptable. From my reading of Standing Orders, I do not accept you, as Leas-Chathaoirleach, have the authority to suspend a Member. We want to know where the Cathaoirleach is and why he is not here. Apparently, this is the most controversial and sensitive legislation to pass through this House this year; yet for some reason the Cathaoirleach does not bother to turn up. Perhaps he has more——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senator Ross, please resume your seat.

I am making a point of order. Perhaps the Cathaoirleach has more important things to do, but he is not in the House——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

With all due respect, the Senator has made his point of order and he will resume his seat.

He has left you, Sir, in a very invidious position, a position which is untenable——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I am asking the Senator to resume his seat.

——because you have taken a decision which is ultra vires and which you should not have taken.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senator Ross, I am on my feet and I am asking you to resume your seat.

What you did was, you put to the House——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

If the Senator does not resume his seat I must ask him to leave the House.

No, Sir. You put to the House an illegal motion which nobody heard——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I must ask the Senator to leave the House.

As the Cathaoirleach did not turn up you are taking an ultra vires decision on this very important Bill.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I ask the Leader of the House to name Senator Ross.

I move: "That Senator Ross be suspended from the service of the Seanad".

Question put.

Senators

Vótáil.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The question is: "That Senator Ross be suspended from the service of the Seanad". On that question a division has been challenged. Will Senators claiming a division please rise in their places.

More than five Senators stood.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The division will proceed.

The Seanad divided: Tá, 31; Níl, 6.

  • Bennett, Olga.
  • Bohan, Eddie.
  • Byrne, Seán.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Conroy, Richard.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Dardis, John.
  • Farrell, Willie.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzgerald, Tom.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Haughey, Seán F.
  • Hussey, Thomas.
  • Jackman, Mary.
  • Keogh, Helen.
  • Kiely, Dan.
  • Kiely, Rory.
  • Lanigan, Michael.
  • Lydon, Don.
  • McKenna, Tony.
  • McMahon, Larry.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Mullooly, Brian.
  • O'Brien, Francis.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • O'Donovan, Denis A.
  • Ó Foighil, Pól.
  • O'Keeffe, Batt.
  • O'Reilly, Joe.
  • Staunton, Myles.
  • Wright, G.V.

Níl

  • Costello, Joe.
  • Harte, John.
  • Norris, David.
  • Ross, Shane P.N.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Upton, Pat.
Tellers: Tá, Senators G.V. Wright and Fitzgerald; Níl, Senators Ross and B. Ryan.
Question declared carried.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senator Ross will leave the House.

Senator Ross withdrew from the Chamber.

Shame, shame.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Broadcasting Bill, 1990. We are resuming on amendment No. 2.

On a point of order. I want to put the following view on the record of the House. I regard Senator Ross's comments as being completely out of order. As a Member of this House I heard you distinctly ask the Leader of the House to name him. I furthermore——

(Interruptions.)

I want the Cathaoirleach to protect me as I am speaking on my point of order——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Please resume your seat.

I heard you distinctly put it to the Leader of the House and I also heard you put to the House the question of whether or not——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

We have taken a decision on that. Amendment No. 2, resumed.

I challenge you on whether or not that was a point of order. It is a point of order for me to ask you for a ruling on whether Senator Staunton's point was, in fact, a correct point of order and I do not believe it was. Would you please give a ruling?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I called Senator Staunton on a point of order. I told him afterwards it was not a point of order and I called the Broadcasting Bill, amendment No. 2. Let us proceed.