Seanad Éireann - Volume 87 - 27 October, 1977

Election of Cathaoirleach.

Clerk of Seanad: Sé an chéad ghnó eile ná Cathaoirleach a thoghadh.

The next business is the election of a Cathaoirleach.

Glacfaidh mé le tairiscintí anois.

I will now receive motions.

Mr. E. Ryan: I move:

That Senator Séamus Dolan be elected and do now take the Chair of the Seanad as Cathaoirleach.

Senator Dolan was a Member of the Dáil from 1961 to 1965, was a Member of this House from 1965 to 1969 and again from 1973 to 1977. In addition to that, he, of course, for many years has been a member of local authorities, and because of his membership of this House and the Dáil and the various other public bodies he has wide experience of public affairs. Again because of his membership of the Houses of the Oireachtas he has a deep knowledge of parliamentary procedure. Accordingly, I suggest and recommend him to you as a person who would be eminently suitable for the position of Cathaoirleach.

Those who served with Senator Dolan in previous Seanaid will know that he was a frequent speaker and a very dedicated Member of this House. In fact his dedication on occasions and his enthusiasm for certain subjects were such that from time to time the Chair found it necessary to intervene to point out that he was not being strictly relevant. Senator Dolan always bowed to the ruling of the Chair, was always meticulous in doing so and because of that he received the indulgence of the Chair in a way unequalled by any other Member of the House. We are entitled to expect that if he is elected today he will show the same indulgence particularly to the newer Members of the House as he received in the past.

The incoming Cathaoirleach of this House will have very high standards to live up to. We have been fortunate over the years to have had a succession of outstanding men as Cathaoirligh of this House, men who not only displayed dignity and ability in administering and presiding over the sessions of the House but who played a part in the evolution of the Seanad and helped to mould this House into the very important institution it is today. In mentioning previous Cathaoirligh I would like to pay tribute to the outgoing Cathaoirleach, ex-Senator James Dooge, who presided here for the last four-and-a-half years and who because of firmness in his rulings and his impartiality in dealing with the Members of the House earned the respect and the confidence of all sections of the House. He has decided not to become a Member of this House again and to devote himself to academic affairs. I think his going is a loss to this House but I am sure all the Members of this House will wish him well in his decision.

In proposing Senator Dolan for the position of Cathaoirleach I am confident that he will not only live up to the very high standards of the past but that in his own way he will add a new and unique dimension to the position of Cathaoirleach. I have great pleasure in recommending his name to the House.

Mr. Yeats: Ba mhaith liom cuidiú leis an rún go dtoghfar Séamus Ó Doláin mar Chathaoirleach ar Sheanad Éireann.

Mr. Cooney: At the outset I should like to echo the tribute of Senator Ryan to the outgoing Cathaoirleach Professor James Dooge. On occasions like this the people who are outside may regard tributes of this kind as being somewhat of a ritual. But I think those who had the privilege of serving in this House under the chairmanship [9] of Professor Dooge will know that his ability as a chairman was quite outstanding. His knowledge of Standing Orders and procedures of the House was voluminous, and that knowledge was always applied with firmness and with fairness. I think the proof is that when a ruling came down from the Chair it was always totally acquiesced in, but more important, it was acquiesced in in a quiet way, with the result that the proceedings of this House were at all times carried out with decorum and without abrasiveness between the parties herein. I think that was due mainly to the conduct of the debates by the outgoing Chairman. I am very glad to have the opportunity of putting on record his outstanding services to this Upper House of Parliament and to the way in which he has moulded it into the House that it is.

My party are not making any nomination for the office of Chairman and we are prepared to accept the nomination of Senator Séamus Dolan. I am aware of his long service in both Houses, and I can assure him on behalf of the Fine Gael Party that he will have our co-operation in continuing to have the business of this House done with decorum and with efficiency. I am quite certain that the people in my party will not seek any indulgence from him as the Leader of Fianna Fáil seems to think that some of his people might get.

The office of chairman of any House of Parliament is important because the way in which the office is conducted affects the personality of the House to some extent. It is not exclusively so, because the input from the Members is important. I want to assure the incoming Chairman that he will have our co-operation in conducting the business of the House efficiently. Ar mo shon féin agus ar son Pháirtí Fhine Gael, cuirim fáilte roimh an Chathaoirleach nua san ard-oifig tábhachtach seo.

Mr. Keating: I want to add my voice to that of Senator Cooney in indicating to the Seanad that we in the Labour Party are not proposing any candidate against the candidacy for [10] Cathaoirleach of Senator Séamus Dolan, and that we will accord to him the same sort of co-operation other sections of the House have pledged to him.

I was interested in what Senator Eoin Ryan said. There is a famous dictum about the best gamekeepers being reformed poachers, and as a very new poacher in this House who does not know its atmosphere and does not know its proceedings, I for my part will be trying to learn the different attitudes and the valuable things that the Seanad can give to parliamentary debate that are not always found in the other House, and for myself and the Labour Party we will be sustaining the Cathaoirleach in the work he has to do.

I am happy to have the opportunity also of adding my voice to those who have spoken in praise of ex-Senator Jim Dooge. He seems to me to exemplify more than anybody I can think of the living proof that it is possible to be an extremely brilliant academic, an extremely brilliant scientist, and simultaneously to be a practical, efficient and wise person. I think by doing the two things simultaneously as he did with such distinction, he brought enormous value to this Chamber and enormous skill. Indeed he took time off clearly to master procedure with great incisiveness and command. I can only say to the new Cathaoirleach that ex-Senator Jim Dooge will be a hard man to follow, and if he does as well he will be doing very well indeed. I am happy to add my voice of tribute to Professor Dooge and to wish him health and long life in his chosen academic career. I regret that he has not found it possible to continue both his academic work and his work in the Oireachtas simultaneously.

Dr. West: I would like to pay tribute to Senator Dooge on behalf of the Independent Members and to say that we always found him a straight and fair Chairman, and to wish him well in his academic career now that he has decided not to seek re-election to this House. I am pleased that the motion proposed by Senator Eoin Ryan has not been opposed and that the Government's nominee for the post of [11] Cathaoirleach will not be opposed. I believe that if the Government have a majority in this House they are entitled to nominate the Cathaoirleach. I would hope that the civilised and democratic tradition of allowing the post of Leas-Cathaoirleach to be filled by the Opposition, which was regrettably breached in the previous session, will be returned to. I hope and wish Senator Dolan every success in his period of office as Cathaoirleach.

Mr. A. O'Brien: Tá aithne agam ar an Seanadóir Ó Dóláin leis na blianta fada. Tá an bheirt againn in ár mbaill de Chomhairle Chontae an Chabháin le breis is fiche bliain, agus cé nach minic a bhímid ar aon intinn, tá meas agam ar a dhúrachtaí agus a thugann sé faoi aon obair a bhíonn idir lámha aige ó am go ham. Tá meas agam freisin ar na hiarrachtaí a dheincann sé ar leas na ndaoine, de réir mar a chíonn sé é a bhaint amach.

Tá sé de bhua ag an Seanadóir Ó Dóláin go n-éisteann sé go foighdeach le tuairimí daoine eile, agus tá sé mór go leor chun athchomhairle a dhéanamh nuair is léair dó gur fearr smaointe an duine eile ná a thuairimí féin.

Tá meas agam freisin agus ag a lán daoine eile chomh maith ar an obair atá déanta aige ar son na Gaeilge leis na blianta, obair atá á déanamh aige go dtí an lá inniu. Creidim go mbainfidh sé feidhm as gradam an phoist seó chun cúrsaí na Gaeilge a chur chun cinn. Rugadh agus tógadh é ar imeall na Teorainn, agus tá sé eolach ar a dheacrachtaí is atá an fhadhb sin dúinn uile.

Tá cleachtadh maith aige freisin ar obair chathaoirleach Choistde Gairm Oideachais Chontae an Chabháin, agus is eol domsa go dtugann sé cothrom na Féinne do gach duine ansin. Tá mé cinnte go gcaemhnóidh sé an caighdeán árd atá leagtha amach ag na Cathaoirligh Sheanaid a chuaigh reimhe.

Ba mhaith liom freisin aontú leis an meid a dúbhradh faoin obair a dhein an t-iar-Chathaoirleach, Professor James Dooge agus a rá gur chaomhnaigh sé caighdeán árd mar Chathaoirleach, agus ní lú an moladh atá tuillte [12] ag an Leas-Chathaoirleach, an t-iar Seanadóir Evelyn Owens. Táimid buíoch díobh mar gheall ar an obair a dhein siad, agus táimid ag súil go n-éireoidh chomh geal leis an Chathaoirleach nua.

Question put and declared carried.

Whereupon Senators rose in their places and remained standing while the Cathaoirleach proceeded to the Dais.

An Cathaoirleach: Gabhaim mo bhuíochas libh, a Sheanadóirí, as ucht mé a thoghadh mar Chathaoirleach. Is maith is eol dom dúracht agus éirim aigne an té a chuaigh romham san oifig sco agus fosta sár-obair na gCathaoirleacha a bhí anseo agus a d'imigh romhan. Tá sean eolas agam ar obair an tSeanad ó tháinig mé féin anseo don chéad uair dhá bhliain déag ó shin. Tuigim go raibh gach Cathaoirleach a chuaigh romham go h-íontach ar fad.

Déanfaidh mise mo shár-dhícheall aithris a dhéanamh ar an dea-obair a rinne siad mar Chathaoirligh. Chomh fada agus is féidir liom déanfaidh mé iarracht an treoir a thug siad sin dom a leanúint.

I am deeply grateful for the honour you have bestowed on me. I trust that, with your help and co-operation, I shall be able to continue in the tradition set by my predecessors in this high office. In the Chair I shall do my best to be just and impartial; and, as I come to terms with the duties of the office, I would hope that Senators would feel free to approach me—and, of course, the officers of the Seanad —on procedural matters of any kind Thank you all very much.