Thursday, 10 September 2020
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
In July, Members stood in the Seanad in silence to remember Dr. Syed Waqqar Ali and seven other front-line workers who lost their lives in the service of others during this pandemic. This week, Dr. Ali's daughter, Dr. Samar Fatima Ali, spoke of her unending grief at the loss of her father, one of those front-line workers. The heroism of Dr. Syed Waqqar Ali and the grief of his family throw the events in Clifden in August into sharp focus. I raise the issues of that event and the heroism of the Ali family and our front-line workers to remind Senators of our duty as representatives to redouble our efforts to restore the trust of the public.The event in August has undermined public faith in public representatives. This has led to citizens of this State questioning if there is one rule for them and another rule for the lawmakers. In this country, all citizens are equal. Nobody is above the rules. That is the case whether one is a Minister, a Senator, a Commissioner or a judge. The contrast between Clifden and the sacrifices that hundreds of thousands of people are making every day has been corrosive on the public trust in politicians at a time when we need all the moral authority possible in asking people to make life-altering sacrifices. At this stage, Members of this House who attended that dinner in Clifden have acknowledged their mistake and expressed their regret. They have been sanctioned by their parties. I know that they will be at the forefront in regaining the public trust over the coming years. The reality is that as politicians and representatives we owe it to Dr. Ali and his family and all families affected by Covid-19 to work together over the coming days, weeks and months to support our communities and our country as we continue to fight this pandemic.
Under the powers conferred on me by Standing Order 22(2) of the Standing Orders of Seanad Éireann Relative to Public Business, I summoned Seanad Éireann to meet at 10.30 a.m. on 10 September 2020 for the purpose of considering the Criminal Justice (Enforcement Powers) (Covid-19) Bill 2020. Under Standing Orders, today's business is confined to the subject matter set out in the summons dated 7 September 2020, specifically, No. 1 on today's Order Paper. Directly related to No. 1 is No. 2, the earlier signature motion to enable the Bill, if passed, to be signed by the President at an earlier date. No other business can be taken today. Contributions on the Order of Business will, therefore, be strictly confined to the arrangements for the taking of the two items of business, and any amendments proposed to the Order of Business must relate only to those arrangements. Contributions by Members to the substance of the Bill should be reserved for the debate on the Bill and should not be made on the Order of Business.
I invite the Leader to propose the arrangements for the taking of Nos. 1 and 2.