Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 30 January 2013
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions
Election of Chairman
I congratulate Deputy Mac Lochlainn on his election and look forward to working with him. This committee is relatively new but I am sure Deputy Mac Lochlainn will get a handle on it fairly quickly. It is a very important committee and I am glad that a fellow Donegal man is in the Chair.
I congratulate Deputy Mac Lochlainn on his appointment and wish him well. He is arriving at the right time. We have dealt with the issues and discovered the role of the committee, in many respects. It is going to be very challenging but very exciting. I am surrounded by Donegal people in Leinster House. My personal assistant is from Donegal and her father sits to my right on this committee. I wish the Chairman well and I know he will bring his own unique political experience and expertise to the position. I assure him of our co-operation at all times in order to ensure that the committee does its work effectively and fairly.
Gabhaim comhghairdeachas leis an gCathaoirleach agus tá a fhios agam go ndéanfaidh an coiste ar fad amach as seo an obair mhaith a rinne sé go dtí seo. It is a challenging time for the committee. We are only beginning to get our teeth into the work that has been set out for us. It was a long time in gestation but there is a programme of work in place now which would be challenging on its own but we all have our other duties to attend to as well. It has been shown so far that everybody on the committee works well together and hopefully that will continue so that we can get through the workload.
I join with other members of the committee in wishing the Chairman well in his new role, which will be very challenging. It is a difficult committee that is in the early stages of its life. At the same time, it is receiving a lot of attention. There will be a lot of work involved and I wish the Chairman well. I thought that by getting elected to the Dáil I would get away from being at committee meetings chaired by Deputy Mac Lochlainn. Obviously I was wrong but I wish him all the best and look forward to working with him.
Obviously, I have worked with Senator Harte and Deputy McConalogue in Donegal and we have worked well together on various issues in the county. I know from conversations I have had with some of the committee members that they are very ambitious for this committee and are determined, on an all-party basis, to put citizens at the heart of Parliament and to make them feel that their concerns and recommendations on changes of policy are taken on board. There is already a considerable volume of petitions that we must work through and I am looking forward to the challenge in the time ahead.
I thank the members. It is an honour to be elected as Chairman of this committee and I know that, as a team, we are all determined to work with the citizens. This is a very open Parliament. If one takes the audiovisual room, there is never a day when the Dáil is sitting, when there is not a civic society group in there, making the case for change. The Houses have approximately 100,000 visitors per year, making this one of the most open parliaments in the world. We are very proud of our democracy and this committee is another aspect of that. I thank members.