Seanad debates

Friday, 18 December 2020

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:00 am

Photo of Joe O'ReillyJoe O'Reilly (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Cathaoirleach for affording me the privilege of saying the last word. I wish him a very happy Christmas and a good 2021. It is a pleasure to work with him in my role as Leas-Chathaoirleach. I wish our Leader and all my colleagues across the House a good Christmas. There is tremendous commitment in this Seanad. There is also great dedication and genuine ambition to do the right thing, be responsible and make a difference for people. This is very palpable. Maybe the privilege that the Cathaoirleach and I have is that we get to listen to debates in a way that allows us to absorb what is going on around the Chamber. The more I am present for debates here, the more I am impressed by the commitment of Members, the way they go about their business, and the sincerity, depth and thoughtfulness of contributions from all sides of the Chamber.

I also wish a happy Christmas and a good 2021 to our administrative staff in the Seanad Office, led by Martin and Bridget, and all the other staff there. We have an excellent administration. Without that, we would not have the kind of House we have.

I have a general remark on what I believe is a theme of the morning. I did not hear the contributions of Senators Casey and Crowe and can only imagine what they were saying. I have an arm's-length connection with a small part of the hospitality business — a very small retail outlet. Thank God, it is an arm's-length association because I know how bad circumstances are in the sector. I empathise with those affected.

Given our privileged position as leaders in the community, we should use this Chamber at every opportunity to exhort people to be sensible over the Christmas and observe the rules on social distancing and the other rules on Covid. It is very difficult. It is a terrible strain. I find I have to go back to the car for the mask, as we must all do at times. What we must do is shocking and onerous but it should and must be done. I exhort people to do it.

There is a bit of bad news coming and, as a Senator said, we need clarity on it. The big news, however, is the vaccine. The Leader, who is a former Minister, has considerable influence so she should ensure, when reporting from this House, that she conveys in any way she can our great desire to have a very efficient and quick roll-out of the vaccine to the front-line workers and elderly and then to those with special medical needs. Those are the main points. In the meantime, people should hold their discipline.

I feel privileged and honoured to have an office in this Chamber and to work with the Cathaoirleach in my role. I do not take this lightly. I genuinely admire and am occasionally in awe of the quality of personnel here and their input. I am very sincere about this. It is very clear. The Cathaoirleach would echo these comments because he hears about the quality of the personnel also.

Críochnóidh mé le cúpla focal as Gaeilge. Guím Beannachtaí na Féile ar Sheanadóirí. Guím Nollaig faoi shéan agus faoi mhaise do na Seanadóirí go léir. Le cúnamh Dé, beimid slán agus ar ais le chéile sa bhliain nua ag obair go díograiseach ar son an phobail. Sin an dualgas atá orainn agus níl aon amhras orm ach go mbeimid ar ais ag déanamh sin má táimid ábalta ar chor ar bith. Gabhaim buíochas leis an Chathaoirleach agus guím Nollaig iontach do na Seanadóirí go léir.


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