Seanad debates

Friday, 17 December 2004

11:00 am

John Dardis (Progressive Democrats)

I wish the Cathaoirleach, the Leas-Chathaoirleach and everybody in the House a very happy Christmas. I thank the Cathaoirleach for the way he has conducted the proceedings during the term. He has always been good humoured and even-handed and we appreciate that.

I also join in the tributes to the Leader for the manner in which she has led the House and brought the business before us. I link Eamonn McCormack to that tribute because he plays a critical role in all of that.

I wish the usher staff under Paddy and the Captain and Superintendent and their staffs all the best for this season.

One group of people missed in these tributes who do a valuable job comprises the Editor of Debates and her staff. Some of us can recall a time when it might have taken a week for the proceedings to be printed but now we have them almost instantly. There has been a huge improvement in that area, for which they deserve our congratulations.

I join in the thanks extended to the Clerk, the Assistant Clerk and everybody in the office. I wish to make a point which I have made on other occasions, namely, that the workload seems to be increasing all the time, particularly that of the Clerk who is involved in several commissions, committees and so on. Something needs to be considered in terms of back-up support. It is unreasonable to expect the staff to deal with amendments into the middle of the night and early the following morning. They should be given the necessary resources to ease that burden somewhat. Perhaps the other body on which the Clerk of the Dáil serves might examine that aspect.

I wish everybody a very happy, peaceful and enjoyable Christmas and hope we come back refreshed for the battle in the new year.

With regard to the issue raised by Senators Norris and McDowell, one has to ask why people would go to a very dangerous country, travelling on false passports. It is reasonable to wonder what brought these people to that country. In those — or in any — circumstances it is a long-standing and good practice that countries do not interfere with the judicial processes in other countries, however, much we might feel they are defective. In countries where there is imminent danger to the state, judicial procedures have been adopted, as they were in this State, to protect the state. It is only when one sees that there is a commitment to democracy that those judicial procedures, or the burden of them, are lessened. There are some aspects of that which we need to consider. If people were to expect intervention and clemency, one would expect they would give themselves up to the authorities. These are matters that could be debated. Perhaps Senator Norris and I can go to some hostelry locally next Tuesday morning and debate these issues more fully.


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