Members welcome Carroll to chamber

Thu, Nov 26, 2009, 00:00

SEANAD REPORT:THE NEWEST member of the Seanad, who took his seat yesterday, had been declared elected by virtue of being the only validly nominated candidate, Cathaoirleach Pat Moylan told the House.

Members on all sides welcomed James Carroll (FF) to the chamber.

Fiona O’Malley (Ind) said that on reading a newspaper report of Mr Carroll’s election, she assumed it was a joke. “I thought one would at least have to go through the ritual arranging of an election, but I congratulate him on his appointment. He will never have it as easy from now on.”

Michael McCarthy (Lab): “Says she who was appointed by the Taoiseach.”

Ms O’Malley: “That is a good point. The Senator might be lucky, like I was; my history of hard work earned me that merit.”

Mr Moylan intervened to say that he wanted to clarify the point made by Ms O’Malley. The ruling on the nomination had been held on Monday last, with Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, president of the High Court in attendance. The relevant section of the Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Act of l947, as amended, provided that, on completion of ruling upon nominations, if only one candidate stood validly nominated, the Seanad returning officer “shall declare that person to be elected”.

David Norris (Ind): “As a sporting man, would the Cathaoirleach describe that as a one-horse race?”

Mr Moylan: “I would always count it as a good result.”

Ann Ormonde (FF) praised Mr Carroll for being willing to engage in politics at a time when there was such distaste for politicians.

“I wish you well, Senator, and I know you have a hard road, particularly at a time when we are all being ridiculed by the public at large. We will be there to support you, having gone through the mill ourselves.”

Terry Leyden (FF) said he wanted to thank Fine Gael and Labour for not contesting this election. His advice to Mr Carroll was to work assiduously to become a member of the Dáil, because the future of the Seanad would not be great if Fine Gael got into power.