Friday, 18 December 2020
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I take this opportunity to say a few thanks. What a year it has been. Little did we think this time last year that we would be facing into a 2020 general election and Seanad election and a huge intake of new Senators - what an honour and achievement for them, personally. I remember the people who contested an election but did not succeed on that occasion. I hope we will see many of them here in future. It is important that we acknowledge the difficulties and challenges of contesting any election but that is the great thing about parliamentary democracy.
I thank Martin, the Clerk of the Seanad, Brigid and all the people in the background in the Seanad Office, and in the Leader's office, Orla Murray and how she co-ordinates the work behind the scenes among Departments, Ministers, speakers and the schedules every week. I thank the Cathaoirleach, Grace Coyle and all the others who work behind the scenes. This has been a difficult year for all of us. It has been a challenging year for business, as has been noted. I acknowledge the people involved in the Community Call. Local government shone brightest when people stood up and responded to the Community Call and I acknowledge the councils and local government throughout the country.
Finally, I pay special thanks to Senator Flynn. Anyone who saw her last night could not but be moved by this most wonderful Senator and by the journey she has taken through her life and personal experiences to be rightfully here, sitting in Seanad Éireann.Anyone who watched it could not but be moved by the extraordinary journey that Senator Flynn took. It shows that anybody can do anything they want if they set their mind to it and they are determined. I acknowledge her work. I also acknowledge the Members in this House and the great diversity of our membership.
I will leave the Leader with one ask. I hope that early next year we will have the two by-elections for Seanad Éireann. It is too important and it should not become a political issue or be divisive. There are vacancies for two seats in this House. I ask the Leader to engage with the Government to see if the early writ could be moved for both of those vacancies to have the election and to have, rightfully, two more new Senators in place in Seanad Éireann. I thank the Leader personally and wish her well for Christmas, as I do with all the Members in this House.