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Dublin: 16 °C Friday 29 August, 2014

‘Father’ David Norris inspires Seanad maiden speeches

Veteran senator warns that current crop of colleagues have to prove their worth ahead of next year’s proposed referendum on keeping the Seanad Éireann.

First day: Some of the new - and veteran - faces of Seanad Eireann prepare for the first day of the 24th Seanad
First day: Some of the new - and veteran - faces of Seanad Eireann prepare for the first day of the 24th Seanad
Image: Stephen Kilkenny

THE INDEPENDENT WHO would be President, Senator David Norris, gave a stirring speech on the first day of the new Seanad.

Norris, as ‘father’ of the Seanad, ie, senator with the longest continuous record in the house, he introduced the first sitting of the 24th Seanad Éireann today at 2.30pm. His speech focused on the need for the current Seanad to prove its worth “to the people” and therefore not become the final one.

Former Leas Chathoirleach of the Seanad, Fine Gael’s Paddy Burke, was chosen as the new Cathoirleach this afternoon and received congratulations from all speakers, including a particularly effusive one from first-time senator Jim D’Arcy. D’Arcy was one of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s eleven nominations to Seanad Éireann this week in a group which also included President Mary McAleese’s husband Martin.

While several senators namechecked Norris as an example for their own future speech-making in the Seanad, long-time Fianna Fáil senator Paschal Mooney also proved an inspiration after his re-election to the Seanad this time round. (He lost out in the 2007 Seanad election after 20 continuous years in the upper house). So much so in fact, that newly elected senator John Crown said he hadn’t intended to make a maiden speech – but felt compelled to do so towards the end of the session.

The 24th Seanad reconvenes next Wednesday afternoon, 1 June. They certainly look happy to be back:

‘Father’ David Norris inspires Seanad maiden speeches
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  • The 24th Seanad: First day back

    New senators Colm Burke and Jillian van Turnhout
  • The 24th Seanad: First day back

    'Father' of the Seanad, David Norris, thanks the press at the photocall
  • The 24th Seanad: First day back

    Senators James Heffernan and Marie Moloney
  • The 24th Seanad: First day back

    New senators Jillian van Turnhout, Terry Leyden and Mary Ann O'Brien (left to right)
  • The 24th Seanad: First day back

    New senators Eamon Coughlan and Martin McAleese
  • The 24th Seanad: First day back

    New senator Fiach Mac Conghail
  • The 24th Seanad: First day back

    First-time senator John Crown with Barack Obama lookalike Aaron Heffernan, who may or may not be running for the Irish presidency...
  • The 24th Seanad: First day back

    First-time senator Marie Louise O'Donnell
  • The 24th Seanad: First day back

    Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames
  • The 24th Seanad: First day back

    Senators Diarmuid Wilson and Kathryn Reilly
  • The 24th Seanad: First day back

    First-time senator Averil Power
  • The 24th Seanad: First day back

    Senator Ronan Mullen

Images: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

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