Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Seanad Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 7 Jul 1994

Vol. 140 No. 21

Statement by Senator.

I understand that Senator Crowley would like to make a statement.

Before he does, a Chathaoirligh, will you allow me to break all the rules to wish him every success in the European Parliament? I am delighted for him.

I thank the Minister for his kind comments. This a sad occasion for me because it is the last opportunity I have to address the Seanad in my capacity as a Member. I want to break all the rules myself and thank you, a Chathaoirligh, the Leas-Chathaoirleach, as well as the staff of your office and the Clerk of the Seanad and her assistant, and all my colleagues for the tremendous support during my brief time in the Seanad.

I also want to make a brief advertisement for this forum, Seanad Éireann. The past year and a half that I spent in this House has highlighted for me the tremendous depth of understanding, knowledge, expertise and empathy emanating from all sides of the House during various debates. Without wishing to diminish any particular area, I would like to focus on the contributions of all Senators to debates on Northern Ireland, including today's debate. Through dialogue and by listening to different viewpoints — we have many varying viewpoints in the House — we have shown the level of understanding that can be achieved. It is an example that, hopefully, will spread to others living on this island.

The role of the Seanad and the public's perception of that role are much misunderstood by the general public but we must take some of the blame for that and there is a lack of press reporting of Seanad debates. I do not blame individual journalists because editorial policy decides what is printed and what is excluded. However, if editors from the print or broadcast media spent a day here listening to the range of debate and the level of expertise, they would appreciate what an important forum this is.

In whatever forum I am representing people, I will always strive to remind people that this is by far the most unique and powerful forum for any kind of debate. I would like to leave you with a wish that I always wish for myself. It is a quote from William Butler Yeat's poem The Lake Isle of Inisfree, with which I am sure the Minister will empathise.

And I shall have some peace there

For peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the vales of the morning

To where the crickets sing.

With those few words I thank you all for your time. It is with sadness that I leave this House.

On behalf of the Members of the Seanad I wish you well in the European Parliament. In your year and a half with us you have endeared yourself to Senators and Deputies on all sides of the political divide, as well as to the staff of the Seanad. I can say with certainty that you have impressed us all greatly with your courage and your performance as a Senator in your role as Justice spokesperson for your party. We will all miss you, Brian, but are pleased that you are moving on to the European Parliament with massive support from the public. On my own behalf, on behalf of Senators on all sides of the House and the staff, I wish you well in the years ahead.

Thank you very much, a Chathaoirligh.

When is it proposed to sit again?

I propose that the House adjourn sine die.