Supporting families of those killed in the Troubles: speaking at an event in Queens University Belfast, opposing the UK government’s legislation that would give amnesty to those responsible for killings in Northern Ireland.
La mulţi ani România to all Romanians living in Ireland and across the world from the chair of the Senate
103 years ago today, the National Assembly in Alba Iulia proclaimed the unification of the Romanian people. A long struggle for independence is just one of the common bonds that unites our peoples.
We are proud and committed partners in the European Union and the United Nations.
On the 1st of December 1918, there was a huge gathering in Alba Iulia, Romanians from all the provinces assembled to vote a proclamation that led to the union of all these provinces.
It was a historical kick-start for modern Romania - that was sadly halted by decades of communist oppression. Romanians fought and died for their freedom in December 1989 and returned their country to the European fold.
It was in 1990, in the aftermath of the Romanian Revolution, that Romania established diplomatic relations with Ireland. It was also the year when Ireland faced Romania in the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup. (Happy moment for the Irish, not so happy for the Romanian fans!)
At present, more than 100,000 Romanians in Ireland make a notable contribution to Irish life and the beautiful Romanian language is being taught in our schools as an exam subject.
We would like to wish Ambassador Laurentiu Ştefan and all the Romanian people in Ireland a Happy Independence Day.
La mulţi ani România!
Senator Eogan was widely regarded as one of the leading archaeologists of his generation. The senate stood in silence & passed a motion of sympathy to his family and friends on their sad loss. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
“Now we must learn the art of how to spend time without spending money” - Happy Retirement Christy after 40 years in Leinster House.
This advice was on the window of Moriarty’s brothers bakery Kenmare when they closed their door after nearly 50 years of service to the people of the area.
Saules mūžu Latvijai – wishing the Latvian community in Ireland and the world at large a Happy National Day from the chair of the Seanad
Latvia declared the independence on the 18th November 1918 after centuries of turmoiled history. As two small European countries who both struggled for independence in those early years of the 20th century, we will always share a historical connection.
The Latvian born Charles Peterson and his nephew Conrad Peterson, were active participants of the Irish Liberation Movement.
The office of the first President of Ireland in 1921, for a time was located in the family home of Charles Peterson himself.
And pipes patented by Charles Peterson are still manufactured in Ireland and known all over the world.
This year is a particularly special year in the relationship between Ireland and Latvia. Ireland had never recognised Soviet power in Latvia and, thirty years ago this year, on 27 August 1991, Ireland, along with its fellow members of the European Community, recognised the restoration of independence of Latvia. On 9 October then Foreign Minister Gerry Collins visited Latvia to formally establish diplomatic relations for the first time in our history.
This milestone is a significant one in the relationship between our countries.
There are 30 000 Latvians living in Ireland. Latvian diaspora in Ireland is very active and well-integrated. Ireland and Latvia share the view that language is a treasure and safeguarding of language is a hard and never-ending work. The Latvian language is being actively taught in Ireland.
On 18th of November one of the Dublin’s symbols - Samuel Beckett Bridge – will be illuminated in the colours of the Latvian flag – red, white, red – in celebration of the Latvian National day.
So today we celebrate those growing links and look forward to our future together as part of the European family. To Ambassador Sīlis and to all Latvians, including those living in Ireland, Happy Proclamation Day.
Saules mūžu Latvijai!
Welcoming An Taoiseach from the chair of the Senate
Taoiseach welcome to the House. In the course reading of your time as a public representative and in public service you have by any measure served and made major changes in a wide array of posts and departments and held office at all levels. But one that is missing is that of senator so today we welcome you as one of our own be it is for just a few hours
Since you were elected to Cork City Council in 1985, and elected in 1989 to Dáil Éireann and served as first citizen of cork as Lord Mayor from 1992 to 1993. Your public service has been about change.
In you first cabinet post you were a reforming Minister for Education and Science in the area of special needs. In 2004, in you time as Health Minister, you gave Ireland the distinction of being the first country in the world to introduce a full workplace smoking ban
You were the first Foreign Minister to bypass the blockade on Gaza in 2010 an in doing so brought the eyes of the world on the humanitarian crisis there. Time does not allow the opportunity to outline all the change you have implemented I just wanted to hight light a few.
Taoiseach we thank you for coming to us today to address the Seanad. As we know you fought for the Seanad not as it was but for what it could be and should be it. One of the key changes must allowing more people to vote
To the best of my knowledge the 7th amendment to the constitution is the only referendum put to the people, passed by the people which has not been enacted by successive governments.
As we move to our 100th year it would be timely for the government support the legislation that would give effect to the 7th Amendment of Constitution passed in a referendum over 40 years ago.
This would increase the Right to Vote in a reformed Senate Election to more people and could increase the amount of voters from one hundred and fifty thousand voters currently to potentially millions of citizens
With the support of all leaders and groups in the Seanad the relevant recommendations of reports on Seanad reform that were in the powers of the Senate to carry out.
For the first time ever, the Senate, will review the recommendations of parliamentary reports 6 months after they have been published to examine if the recommendations of the reports have in fact been implemented.
Yesterday Deputy James Lawless the chair of the Justice committee justice presented the report by the committee on rape and sexual violence. The debate highlighted continued action required to implement all the recommendations of the Justice committee.
Another part of Seanad renewal is the increase engagement with the public and Senate nominating bodies such as charities, Trade Unions, farmers organisation, businesses, and cultural and education sectors on Issues of concern to them are now being addressed in the Senate Panel Forums.
The first one of which was focused on the topic of Ending the practice of Non-Disclosure agreements by universities which silence victims and protect the guilty allowing the abuse to continue.
The Government has committed to bringing in legislation to address this problem. One of the constant themes of successive reports on our Seanad is the role it could and should play in the scrutiny of EU Legislation
All reports on Seanad reform and renewal have referred to this as an obvious area for the Seanad to work on. Parliamentary language is complex and in many ways is used to confuse and prevent transparency. In legislative phraseology under the EU communities Act of 1974 Ministers had total authority to transpose EU directives by way of statutory instruments which can only be annulled by way of a resolution of both houses of the Oireachtas
In essence what that means is that Ministers and their departments add to EU legislation and signing it into Irish law, without consulting TDs, Senators and Parliamentary Committees bypassing the democratic process.
One of the worst example of this bypassing of TDs and Senator’s ability to scrutinise EU Legislation was the first and only piece of legislation on organ donation in the history of the State.
No TD or Senator or even the Health Committee saw the draft legislation before the Minister signed it. These EU Laws should be subject to scrutiny by the Senate and oireachtas in a renewed process.
Next year the Seanad marks its 100 anniversary. Established In the middle of our bitter, divisive and tragic civil war. A war in which many families on both sides including my own lost loves ones. In the midst of that war The senate played a role in establishing and consolidating the democratic institution of the state. Between November 1922 and February 1923, 37 Senators homes were destroyed and many other Senators were intimidated or kidnapped.
None resigned. It has been stated that the first senate was the most diverse bunch of politicians Ireland has ever had - 36 Catholics, 20 protestants, 3 Quakers and 1 member of the Jewish faith.
Some of its senators included WB Yeats Micheal Duffy a road worker from County Meath, Bryan Mahon Commander in Chief of British Forces in Ireland from 1916-18, Jennie Wyse Power President of Cumann na mBan and Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde (great grandson of Henry Grattan of Grattans Parliament).
The creators of that first senate divised it so that it could give a platform and represent the voices of the unionist and the minority communities who found themselves in the new states.
Over time that role of the Seanad evolved to give different minorities and different communities a forum to express their views and voice calls for change, calls that societies was not yet ready or willing to make.
Those voices, often a sole voice, like that of our colleague and father of the house the longest continuously serving senator in its history Senator Norris. He has been the embodiment of the senate as a place where those minority voices bring major change.
We are fortunate that senator Eileen Flynn was appointed by you and is the first member of the Traveller community to serve in this house and is using that position to give voice to her community who have suffered on the margins of our society like so many minorities in the past
Finally, next year the Senate will marks its one hundred anniversary while we will look back we will be looking forward. We hope that with your assistance and that of your government that we can make the changes we seek so that the senate for the next 100 years can be the place that minority voices can continue to make major change for the benefit of all of this shared Island.
On the Week in Politics to speak about some of the changes and reforms we have been making in the Seanad and the greater role I want the Seanad to play in ensuring transparency in the making of laws in Ireland from EU legislation.
A minutes silence for Civil Rights champion Austin Currie in Seanad Éireann today, in recognition of his remarkable service to Ireland and peace. I joined with Senators in extending sympathies to his wife Annita our colleague Emer and all the Currie family.
New Irish-US political caucus to be launched in Florida
The US launch of a new American Irish State Legislators Caucus will be held in Florida today.
The hybrid event will take place at the National Conference of State Legislators Summit in the city of Tampa and will be attended by some of the 818 members of the new caucus.
Cathaoirleach of the Seanad Senator Mark Daly will launch the caucus alongside Speaker Robin Vos of Wisconsin, who is President of the National Conference of State Legislators, which has more than 7,300 members.
"The relationship with the United States is vital to Ireland and to the Peace Process," Senator Daly said.
"Last week I met with the Congressional Friends of Ireland in Washington DC who hope that as members of the American Irish State Legislators Caucus move from state politics to the national stage, they will join the Friends of Ireland," he added.
The Irish launch of the caucus was held in Dublin last month when legislators from 27 US states gathered at the Mansion House.
The event was attended by 55 Senate presidents and minority leaders.
Those behind the initiative say the purpose of the new caucus is to ensure that state legislators across the US understand Ireland and issues such as Brexit, trade and the Good Friday Agreement.
It is hoped that every US state will have its own American Irish State Legislators caucus by the end of 2022.
New Irish-US political caucus to be launched in Florida
Wishing the people of Czech Republic a Šťastný den nezávislosti from the Chair of the Senate
An independent Czechoslovakia was declared on Wenceslas Square in Prague on 28 October 1918, just a year before the first sitting of Dáil Éireann in 1919. Following independence, Ireland and Czechoslovakia had contacts at various levels, particularly at the League of Nations. Czechoslovakia established a Consulate in Dublin in 1929. The Czechoslovak Communist Coup in 1948 interrupted the development of diplomatic relations. After the "Velvet Revolution" in 1989, closer relations developed. The first free Czech election was held in 1990, and in 1993 the independent Czech Republic emerged from the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia. In 1995, the Irish Embassy was established in Prague.
Ireland and the Czech Republic share common values and commitments including membership of the EU, and of the UN. In the front entrance of Dáil Eireann, a bronze bust of renowned playwright Vaclav Havel first President of the Czech Republic was unveiled mid-June 2015. This was a significant and symbolic moment for Czech-Irish relations. After the United States of America, Ireland became only the second country in the world where a national legislative assembly decided to permanently honour the legacy of former President Havel.
Our two countries are innovative and like-minded. We share a love of culture and our languages. Ireland is honoured that the Irish Studies Centre in Charles University teaches, researches and promotes Irish culture in European and global contexts with a focus on modern literature in English and Irish, theatre, film, the Irish language, music and theory. We would like to wish Ambassador Petr Kynštetr and all Czechs living in Ireland a Happy Independence Day. Šťastný den nezávislosti.
Wishing the Austrian people Einen schönen österreichischen Nationalfeiertag from the Chair of the Senate
On the occasion of Austria’s national day, I would like to extend Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Nationalfeiertag to Austria.
The relationship between Ireland and Austria has deep roots in history. The Irishman Fergal (Virgilius) was bishop of Salzburg in the 8th century, and died there in 784. The Irish monk Colmán was martyred at Stockerau near Vienna in 1012 and for centuries was venerated as Austria's national saint (Koloman). In 1155 Irish monks founded the Schottenstift Abbey which still exists in the centre of Vienna.
Austria also gave refuge to a number of the “Wild Geese”, and names like O’Donnell, Lacy, Browne, Kavanagh and Laudon have their place in Austrian military history. Maximilian O'Donnell saved the life of Emperor Franz Jozef from an assassination attempt in 1853, and received the title of "Count" from the Emperor.
The longest serving prime minister under Emperor Franz Josef was Edward Taafe a descendant of an Irish exile.
We also enjoy shared academic and literary links, from Wittgenstein in Dublin to Oliver St John Gogarty’s time in Vienna. Professor Erwin Schrödinger, of the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies, lived for longer in Dublin than in any other city (1938-55).
Our two countries enjoy excellent relations, have much in common and cooperate in international jointly achieve common goals. We wish all Austrians including the Austrians living in Ireland a very Happy National Day.
Einen schönen österreichischen Nationalfeiertag!
Delighted to wish the Spanish people a Happy National Day from the chair of Seanad Éirean. Feliz Dia Nacional de España
Spain and Ireland share a common past and a
centuries-long friendship that can be traced back to the XVIth (16th) century when the Treaty of Dingle was signed in 1529.Throughout our shared history, there has been a constant flow of Irish people to Spain, from medieval pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, through to the many Irish who found refuge in Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries at the time of The Flight of the Earls.
The many Irish Colleges founded during that period helped not only to preserve a distinct cultural identity but also to facilitate Ireland's engagement with the wider world.
There is an increasing number of Irish citizens resident in Spain, estimated at over 40,000.
As many as 2.3 million Irish visit Spain every year and more than 20,000 Spaniards currently live in Ireland.
Spain is the fifth largest market into Ireland in terms of visitor numbers. For decades, Spain has been Ireland’s second largest EU market for English language training (ELT).
This connection has seen many prominent figures in Spanish public life, including Prime Minster Pedro Sánchez, spending time in Ireland during their adolescence.
I would like to wish Ambassador Ildefonso Castro and all Spanish people a Happy National Day, Feliz 12 de octubre!
Marking the National Day of Germany in the Senate
On the 3rd October 1990 Germany achieved reunification after a long period of division. Ireland is proud of our role in facilitating this momentous event in German history, chairing the crucial Dublin meetings during our Presidency of the European Council, which led to pan-European support for German reunification. Indeed, Chancellor Helmut Kohl is said to have thanked the Taoiseach with the words, “Germany will never forget what you have done for us”.
The relations between our two countries stretch back much further. St Killian who left Ireland from County Kerry and other Irish monks came to Germany from the 7th century and established enduring links between our countries.
This year we marked 100 years since the fledgling Irish State appointed its first official representative to Germany, Nancy Wyse Power, to set up an office to promote Irish interests. Ireland and Germany share a strong bilateral relationship anchored in our strong economic, cultural, social and political links. What defines our relationship is our work together in the European Union, where our countries share a common vision and purpose of how to achieve a stronger and more effective Europe and a better world. I would like to wish Ambassador Meier-Klodt and all Germans, Alles Gute zum Tag der Deutschen Einheit!
Marking the National Day of Cyprus in the Senate
I note the Republic of Cyprus is marking 61 years of independence. The historic parallels between Ireland and Cyprus are striking. They are two small island nations that have struggled to gain independence. Cyprus and Ireland are island countries, located on the opposite ends of the family of European nations. As partners in the European Union, we are pleased to work together to advance our shared interest in our membership of the European Union. Cyprus gave strong support for the full implementation of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the United Kingdom and to the Northern Ireland protocol, which was greatly appreciated.
Since 1964, thousands of members of An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces have served in Cyprus as members of the United Nations peacekeeping force. Ireland has always supported, and continues to support, a just and viable solution to the division of Cyprus, based on the United Nations Security Council resolutions and on the principles of the European Union. We thank An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces for their service to the United Nations' mission and for their contribution to the strong connections between Ireland and Cyprus.
I wish our dear friend, the President of the House of Representatives in Cyprus, Annita Demetriou, the ambassador in Ireland, the people of Cyprus, and the Cypriot community here in Ireland a happy independence day. Charoúmeni méra anexartisías. Happy Independence Day Cyprus.
Cathaoirleach welcomes MEPs from the Midland North West
The working group on the implementation of Seanad reform and its report, written in 2015 by former Senator Maurice Manning, noted that our MEPs find themselves without a formal connection to our political structures. The working group envisaged that MEPs could debate and engage with us on European developments through an audience in the House. The 2018 report, which was prepared under the chairmanship of Senator Michael McDowell, picked up themes and suggested the link with Europe could be done through Seanad Éireann.
As Senators are aware, the Conference on the Future of Europe was formally inaugurated on Europe Day this year. This conference is a unique opportunity for citizens, parliaments, local authorities and especially young people to engage with playing a part in shaping the future of Europe.
Cathaoirleach Senator Mark Daly wishes the people of Malta a Happy Independence Day
Malta celebrates its independence day, having gained its independence in 1964. As two island nations on the periphery of Europe, Ireland and Malta share certain historical experiences. Ireland and Malta struggled for a long time for independence.
Our two countries share a rich maritime heritage and, of course, we are both neutral nations. Our diplomatic relationships were established in 1990 and the long-standing relationships between our people and our shared membership of the European Union make sure that our friendship grows stronger each year.
The Maltese city of Floriana has a football club affectionately known as Tal-Irish, the Irish. The reason for this is that, when the Royal Dublin Fusiliers were playing football against the local team in the 20th century, the fusiliers donated their kit, which was green and white, to the local team. Ever since, and to this very day, the club has worn those colours.
I wish Ambassador Leonard Sacco, and the Maltese people in Ireland and around the world a very happy independence day. Viva Malta Indipendenti.