Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response

Election of Chairman

Clerk to the Committee:

As all members are present we have a quorum. I advise the committee that I have not been notified of any substitution in accordance with paragraph 7 of our terms of reference. The first item of business is the election of the Chair. In accordance with Dáil precedent I will seek nominations from parties and groups in the order they appear in the terms of reference of the committee and afterwards put the question or questions in the order of nominations received. I will now seek nominations for Chair.

Photo of Pearse DohertyPearse Doherty (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
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I am used to standing in the Dáil Chamber but in the committee rooms we always sit. On behalf of the Sinn Féin Party I nominate Deputy David Cullinane as chairperson of the committee. He has the skills to assist the committee in its important work over the next period. He is a second term Teachta Dála and a former Member of the Seanad. He has served on many committees, including the Committee of Public Accounts. He brings the skills that are necessary to support the committee's work.

Clerk to the Committee:

I thank Deputy Doherty. Are there other nominations?

Ossian Smyth (Dún Laoghaire, Green Party)
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I nominate Deputy Michael McNamara.

Clerk to the Committee:

I will now put the question with regard to the first nominated person and then move to the second person if the first person is not elected by a majority of the members present.

Question put: That Deputy David Cullinane be elected Chair.

The Committee divided: Tá, 6; Níl, 12.



Question declared lost.

Staon: Deputy Michael McNamara.

Question, "That Deputy Michael McNamara be elected Chair," put and declared carried.

Deputy Michael McNamara took the Chair.

Photo of Michael McNamaraMichael McNamara (Clare, Independent)
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I thank all of my colleagues for the honour that they have bestowed on me. We are all very aware of the importance of the work that this committee will carry out. I hope that we can do so in as collegial a manner as possible and that we can keep things as short as possible. On that basis, I do not propose to say anymore other than to thank members.

I propose that we suspend the committee for the moment before returning in private session to discuss a programme of work. Is that agreed?

Photo of Pearse DohertyPearse Doherty (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
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Is the Chairman intending for us to do the entire programme of work in private session or are we just-----

Photo of Pearse DohertyPearse Doherty (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
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Obviously, there are procedural issues relating to the committee's scheduling and the number of times that we will meet. There is a restriction of two hours. We in our group are eager to ensure that a number of sessions take place next Tuesday. As opposed to just the programme, we ask that the Chairman facilitate a discussion on a number of procedural issues.

Photo of Michael McNamaraMichael McNamara (Clare, Independent)
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I am not proposing to carry it all out in private session, but we need to agree some modalities. We can then go back into public session.

Photo of John McGuinnessJohn McGuinness (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail)
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For how long will we be suspended? The Chairman has proposed a short suspension, but surely-----

Photo of Pearse DohertyPearse Doherty (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
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We could go into private session now.

Photo of Michael McNamaraMichael McNamara (Clare, Independent)
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I was going to propose adjourning for half an hour, but if Deputies wish-----

Photo of Pearse DohertyPearse Doherty (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
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No.

Photo of John McGuinnessJohn McGuinness (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail)
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We will go straight into private session.

Photo of Michael McNamaraMichael McNamara (Clare, Independent)
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We will go into private session.

The committee went into private session at 12.43 p.m.

Sitting suspended at 2.30 p.m. and resumed in private session at 3 p.m.

The committee adjourned at 4.30 p.m. until 11 a.m. on Tuesday, 19 May 2020.