Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 16 July 2013
Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs
Business of Joint Committee
We have a quorum and we are in public session. I remind people to turn off their mobile telephones and not just put them on silent. Senator Leyden is turning his off as we speak, so I would like everybody to follow his example.
Yes, thank you. Before we begin, I would like to comment on last week's proceedings. As members are aware, Deputy Lucinda Creighton is no longer our Minister of State. I think we can agree that she was a fantastic Minister of State. During the course of Ireland's EU Presidency, she travelled 120,000 miles to 44 different countries on behalf of our country. She was always willing to come before this committee and she gave of her time very generously. I am sure I can speak of behalf of the whole committee when I wish her well and thank her for her services to the committee. Her departure means that we have also lost one of our own members. Deputy Paschal Donohoe has been appointed as Minister of State with responsibility for European affairs. I have known him since 2007, when we served in the Seanad together, and I am delighted for him and his family. He will make an excellent Minister of State. It is a subject he knows much about, as we know from his membership of this committee. I look forward to seeing him back in front of this committee as Minister of State in the near future, once he settles into the role. On behalf of the committee, I wish the new Minister of State the very best in his new position.
I would like to place on record my appreciation of the work of Deputy Lucinda Creighton as Minister of State. She was exemplary in her work during the Presidency. I believe it has been a success only because of her work. She laid the foundation before the Presidency and continued that work during it. Unfortunately, this issue arose, but she will be back and I wish her well. She can take a break for the moment. Deputy Donohoe has served his time here and he will make an extremely good Minister of State with responsibility for European affairs. I hope he has time, because at the moment he is sub-director of elections for the abolition of Seanad Éireann, which is a post that does not even exist because the Bill has not gone through yet. The President has to sign the Bill and then they might have a campaign, but it is a bit premature. It is like ordering the grave diggers to work when the corpse is still quite warm.
I echo the Chairman's words on Deputy Lucinda Creighton. We are sorry that she found herself in a situation where she had to remove herself from her Ministry in which she excelled. I fully agree that she did a tremendous job and developed a good knowledge of European issues, established many useful contacts throughout Europe and became influential in that area.
I congratulate our colleague, the Minister of State, Deputy Donohoe, and wish him well. He has been a very good member of this committee since 2007. He has also shown himself to be dedicated to the task, which is very important for a job that somebody may be given at any time.
We wish him well in the future and equally Deputy Creighton. I have no doubt that her time will come again.
I would like to concur with what has been said and extend my best wishes to Deputy Lucinda Creighton and thank her for doing an excellent job as Minister of State, particularly during the Irish Presidency. I also wish our colleague, the Minister of State, Deputy Paschal Donohoe, every success in the years ahead. I could not think of a better choice. He is very well regarded and informed on European matters. I know that he will make an excellent Minister of State.
Ms Eimear Costello:
As the only MEP present, I also want to thank Deputy Lucinda Creighton for the work she did as Minister of State with responsibility for European affairs and during the Irish Presidency. She was very highly regarded by MEPs from all political groups. She spent a lot of time travelling the length and breadth of Europe but she also spent a lot of time in the European Parliament, talking to MEPs and understanding the issues facing them. On one occasion she spent 11 hours in our hemicycle, which deserves much thanks. That was a task of endurance in itself.
I congratulate the Minister of State, Deputy Paschal Donohoe. I served with him on Dublin City Council and I know he will make an excellent Minister of State.