Friday, 27 March 2020
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Senator Reilly is a medical doctor. I got a call from Senator Swanick from Mayo, who is anxious to be here today, but he rang me yesterday to say that his priority and first duty was to stay and look after the people of Mayo and Belmullet. He got his priorities right, so he decided not to come. I understand where Senator Reilly is coming from, from a medical point of view.
Before I call on the Leader to respond, I want to offer my sincere thanks to the Leas-Chathaoirleach for his indulgence during the term of the Seanad, and wish him the very best in his retirement. I thank the Leader, Senator Buttimer, with whom I had a very good working relationship, and the leaders and whips of all the groups here. I thank the temporary chairpersons for their assistance during the 25th Seanad, Senators Wilson, Ned O'Sullivan, Horkan, Coffey and O'Mahony, both of whom I wish well in their retirement, Senators Mulherin, who is here today, Gallagher, Conway, Noone, Paul Daly, Craughwell, Feighan and Neale Richmond, who are now elected to the other House, and Senators Lombard, Byrne and O'Reilly. I hope I am leaving nobody out. Without the acting chairs, we could not operate. I wish all on the Seanad election trail every success. We are in uncertain times and hopefully we will be back in this Chamber in the not-too-distant future. There are tough times ahead for us all and I urge Senators and their families to stay safe in light of Covid-19. Listen to the HSE and medical advice. Stay at home if at all possible. I thank the front-line workers. I commend the Leader for his suggestion that at the conclusion of the Order of Business, we will have a replica of what happened in the other House to show our appreciation to people on the front-line, including doctors, nurses, emergency services and all staff on the front.
I thank the Clerk, Martin Groves, who has done an excellent job as Clerk over the last four years. He has accomplished himself and I wish him well. I thank the Clerk-Assistant, Bridget Doody, and the staff of the Seanad Office, including Ilinca, Carol and Eden, my girl Friday, Aisling, and my secretary, Sheena, who are also particularly helpful. I thank the people in the Bills Office, Journal Office, Debates Office, the Superintendent and the Captain of the Guard, the ushers, service officers, stationery stores, cleaners, ICT unit and all the staff of the House without whom this Chamber would not function. I want to offer sincere thanks as this is the last sitting of this Seanad. I owe them appreciation. I should not forget the people who looked after me, my drivers, Bart and Kevin. There were days that I would not have made it here but for their indulgence.
I call the Leader to respond.