Seanad debates

Friday, 16 December 2022

Election of Leas-Chathaoirleach


11:30 am

Photo of Alice-Mary HigginsAlice-Mary Higgins (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I begin by paying tribute to Senator Joe O'Reilly. He has been a very good Leas-Chathaoirleach. As previous speakers stated, he is one of the most decent and good people I have known in politics. I regard him as a friend. As well as always bringing care, kindness and tolerance to his role as Leas-Chathaoirleach and to any part of his engagement with colleagues across the House, he has a dry wit and a wisdom that are very useful and positive and that have been available to everybody. Like others, I have had the opportunity of travelling with Joe and serving with him on the Council of Europe. I know he also played a very distinguished role in that regard and as vice chair of political groups that I would have found it very hard to be vice chair of in the difficult spaces of the Council of Europe. I know he will continue to exhibit that very personal care and also that international outlook. He has a goal for good in the world, and he will find other ways to express it. I am looking forward to having him back on the benches with us and to being able to work with him to that effect.

I am very happy to be one of those nominating and supporting Senator Mark Daly as candidate for Leas-Chathaoirleach. It was almost in my first week in the Seanad that Mark somehow had me in his office explaining the Standing Orders to me, outlining how we write them ourselves and that it is important to remember that we make our own rules in the Seanad. That was important. When we arrive into a space, the first things we often hear are what we cannot do, what we should not do and what we ought not to do, but Mark was full of all of the things that we can do and that we can do more. He really brought that in as a Senator but when he got the opportunity to be Cathaoirleach, he took it and ran with it. As has been said, he put so many pieces in play and followed so many of those threads through, from the paintings that we now see on the walls, to the special settings we have had, to the engagement with the international community that he has championed, through to all of these other aspects. Crucially, something that will be a really important legacy is the bringing back of the scrutiny of statutory instruments, particularly EU legislative instruments.

All of that will be in play and now, if he is elected Leas-Chathaoirleach, as I believe he is likely to be, he will be able to support the exciting new projects that have been laid out by our new Cathaoirleach, Senator Buttimer, and the very important thematic considerations and priorities he has set out. I know Mark will be able in supporting those and will also be diligent in following through each of the threads and each of the balls he put in motion during his own time in the office. Again, I look forward to working with the Cathaoirleach and, if Senator Mark Daly is appointed to the role, the new Leas-Chathaoirleach in the next two and a half years.


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