Friday, 27 March 2020
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I send our deepest sympathies to the families of the ten people who died. On my behalf and that of the Fine Gael group, I extend our deepest sympathies to Senator Ruane on the death of her grandmother, Maureen Lotsy from Finglas. Death and bereavement is a very difficult time but it is even more so without a hug or ability to say goodbye. The legacy of Senator Ruane's grandmother will live on in her work and I offer my deepest sympathies to Senator Ruane and her family.None of us ever envisaged the situation in which we find ourselves. I pay tribute to all those working in our health system. I thank them for their work, commitment and dedication. At the end of the Order of Business, I wish to acknowledge and thank them most sincerely. At a time when our food supply chain is so critical, I also wish to thank those who work in retail, those in our shops who make sure that our shelves are full of food, those who produce and supply food, those who clean our streets and those involved in tasks we take for granted. We extend our thanks to all of these people.
Senators raised the issue of the Covid-19 Bill. I am happy to defer to the Cathaoirleach's pronouncement to the effect that Members should engage on this matter during discussion of the Bill. I ask Senator Ardagh to reflect on what Mr. Liam Woods said on "Morning Ireland" this morning. We are running low on protective equipment and clothing but we are not out of it and there is more to come. Ministers will address that issue during the course of the debate.
I thank those in the education system for their innovation in educating our young people today. As the Cathaoirleach has said, the Twenty-Fifth Seanad comes to an end today. As Leader, I thank the Cathaoirleach for his courtesy, fairness, good humour and impartiality at all times. I pay tribute to him and thank him for his work as Chair. I also pay tribute to the Leas-Chathaoirleach, who is retiring, for his unfailing courtesy to all of us. We wish him well at this time. I am sure he is anxious to be here next week for the count. We thank him as well.
We offer our thanks and compliments to retiring Members on the work they have done not only in this Seanad but in previous Seanads. I wish all who are contesting the election good luck and every success next week. Only 49 of us can be elected. I hope that as many as possible of those 49 will be Members of this outgoing Seanad. I wish all candidates well.
I thank all members of the staff. The Cathaoirleach has listed them so I will not go through them all but I thank them most sincerely for their courtesy and commitment. I particularly refer to the staff of the Seanad Office, the Bills Office and the Journal Office and to our recording people who are here today who have to endure us, often at unsocial hours. I pay tribute to Orla Murray in my office for her efficiency, courtesy and professionalism at all times. Senator Marshall made reference to Senator Lawless's predicament with regard to voting. We need to address that issue in the future.
Today is not a day for a long Order of Business. It has been a privilege and a huge honour to serve as Leader of the Seanad for the past number of years. I thank all group leaders and whips for their courtesy and professionalism. I now ask all of us to thank and salute those who have worked so tirelessly for us over recent months.