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 Header Item Selection of Candidate and Election of Ceann Comhairle (Continued)
 Header Item Business of Dáil
 Header Item Election of Ceann Comhairle (Resumed)

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 906 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl] It is an immense personal privilege for my family and me to hold this position and it is not one I treat lightly.

I pay tribute to Deputies Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin and Maureen O'Sullivan for their contribution to this contest. Each of them would have made an excellent Ceann Comhairle and I hope I will match their energy and commitment to this House. Furthermore, I will endeavour to follow in the footsteps of Deputy Seán Barrett who, in a deeply difficult time for this country, played a central role in this Chair in steering this House through often uncharted waters. I am aware that in the time to come, tempers may fray and disagreements may flare up. I promise you I will adjudicate without fear or favour based on the respect for each Deputy's inalienable democratic mandate. I implore you, the Members, to respect one another's voices as each of us stands not simply for himself or herself, but for his or her constituents across every reach of this country, in town, city, village and countryside.

Disagreement is the beating heart of a democracy but argument is the lifeblood of a vibrant chamber and mutual respect is the foundation of an effective parliament. Our unprecedented election of this position is just the first step of what I hope will be many on the road to reforming the workings of our political system. I personally am fully committed to overseeing that crucial task. More than 100 years on from the foundation of our Republic, the democratic institutions of the State have often been tested; their strength has not been found wanting. We have stood up when many believed we would fall and this House has played an essential role in withstanding the storms of history. The great project of Irish independence, which the first Dáil embodied, still endures in the soul of this Thirty-second Dáil. That it continues is an historic responsibility that rests upon the shoulders of everybody in this Chamber. I look forward to putting in train and overseeing the implementation of deep-reaching reforms that will benefit both those of you seated here today and the people of the country, as well as the generations that will follow us into this, the people's Chamber. I look forward to working with you all in the coming years as we endeavour together to build a better republic for all our citizens.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.

Business of Dáil

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I understand the Government Chief Whip, Deputy Kehoe, has a procedural motion that he wishes to put to the House.

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I congratulate the Ceann Comhairle.

  It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 5.25 p.m. this evening.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is that agreed? Agreed.

Election of Ceann Comhairle (Resumed)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Item No. 4 is the nomination of Taoiseach and I will receive nominations-----

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Ba mhaith liom rud éigin a rá fút, a Cheann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Go raibh maith agat, a Thaoisigh.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Nóiméad amháin, más maith leat.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Ceart go leor.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Ba mhaith liom mo chomhghairdeas a dhéanamh leat tar éis duit a bheith tofa mar Cheann Comhairle. Is é seo an chéad uair ó bunaíodh an Stát gur toghadh Ceann Comhairle cosúil leat le vóta rúnda neamhspleách ó chuile Theachta atá anseo. Is é sin an fáth go bhfuil cumhacht níos difriúla agat mar Cheann Comhairle ná mar a bhí ag duine ar bith eile sa ról sin riamh. Tréaslaím leat as ucht é sin. Agus tú a bheith tofa mar Cheann Comhairle, labhair tú faoi na hiarrthóirí eile a bhí san fheachtas seo. Tá mé thar a bheith buíoch díot, a Cheann Comhairle, go mbeidh tú mar stiúrthóir ar choiste uile-pháirtí na Dála ar fad, agus iadsan gan pháirtí san áireamh, a dhéanfaidh scrúdú ar an athrú gnó gur féidir linn cur i bhfeidhm anseo sa Dáil, i dtreo is go mbeidh glacadh níos doimhne ag chuile Theachta ó thaobh stiúradh na Dála, ó thaobh gnó na Dála, ó thaobh díospóireachta sa Dáil aguis ó thaobh an dualgais a bheidh ar chuile dhuine as seo amach glacadh leis an obair atá ar siúl anseo.

It is really important in a changed political landscape that you are the first Ceann Comhairle since the foundation of the State to draw your authority from the vote by secret ballot of all the Members of this Chamber. In itself, that is an historic change in what is now an historic and changed landscape. I value greatly the fact that the Members of the House agree that you should chair and direct, with your independence and your voted authority, the standing committee that can deal with the many queries and proposals that parties and independent Deputies have in regard to the way in which we do our business here. I assure the Ceann Comhairle that in so far as the Government and the Government Members are concerned, we will comply with his rulings. We will work with you as Ceann Comhairle and will work diligently in what is a changed political landscape to make the business of the House far more meaningful and engaging but also to develop and deliver a far more responsible accountability on all the Members in the work we must do here. Congratulations again, a Sheáin, a chara; tá tú ann le fada an lá. Good luck to you in your term as Ceann Comhairle. I hope it is all as calm, benign, serene and exciting as it is here today. I wish you, your wife and family good fortune in the time ahead.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I thank the Taoiseach for his kind remarks.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I dtús báire, a Cheann Comhairle, ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh leat as ucht a bheith tofa don oifig thábhachtach seo. Ta sé soiléir dúinn gur lá stairiúil agus ócáid stairiúil é seo. Tá gach uile dhuine sa Teach seo sásta a chuid nó a cuid tacaíochta a thabhairt duit, a Cheann Comhairle, agus vóta rúnda a bhí i gceist ó thosach. Níl aon amhras orm ach go mbeidh tú in ann cothrom na Féinne a thabhairt do gach éinne sa Teach seo mar dhuine cumasach a bheidh toilteanach bunathruithe ar an gcóras a chur i bhfeidhm, go háirithe bunathruithe maidir leis an ngaol idir an Rialtas agus an Pharlaimint. Is é sin an rud is tábhachtaí ar fad. Tá a fhios agam go dtuigeann tú é sin agus go bhfuil tú sásta déileáil linn go léir chun na bunathruithe sin a chur i bhfeidhm agus a thabhairt isteach.

A Cheann Comhairle, I congratulate you warmly on your selection and indeed your family, namely, your wife Mary Clare and Caoimhe, Nessa, Aoife and Eoghan because they have toiled and worked with you in many elections. It is a momentous occasion for them that you have reached this historic office in such an historic way with a secret ballot and then through unanimous declaration and acclamation from the House itself. You are a committed and skilled parliamentarian and always have been, as well as a person with a strong social conscience who is committed to the issues of housing, agriculture and many others. I believe you will bring an open and accommodating style to the House and given the skill sets you have, you are ideally positioned to grasp the historic opportunity that presents itself in respect of altering the fundamental relationship between the Executive and the Parliament. This is essentially what the people want and require. You now enjoy the confidence of the full House and I believe you will bring those skill sets to bear and that by the end of its term, the 32nd Dáil will be a much different place than it was at the outset. A Cheann Comhairle, I simply will quote your opening remarks to the House this afternoon when you stated you will serve the Members as opposed to being a slave of the system and of that, I have no doubt.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I thank Deputy Micheál Martin.

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Ar an gcéad dul síos, ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh leat féin agus le do chlann. I also wish to take a moment to thank the outgoing Ceann Comhairle, Deputy Barrett, for all his work during the past five years and to congratulate all those who offered themselves as candidates in what has been a first for the Dáil, namely, the election by secret ballot of the Ceann Comhairle. I know you, as a politician, to be a man of decency and integrity who is dedicated to the public interest and to that of your constituents. It would appear from reading the tallies that not only did you attract the support of your own party, but you also attracted significant support from other parties and most likely from Independents in the House.

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