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Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie
cathaoirleach

Fine Gael's Jerry Buttimer elected as new chair of the Seanad

Senators voted today on a new chair of the upper house.

LAST UPDATE | Dec 16th 2022, 1:12 PM

FINE GAEL SENATOR Jerry Buttimer has become the new Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, after the position was vacated ahead of the Governmental rotation this weekend.

Senators today voted on a new chair of the upper house of the Oireachtas to replace outgoing Fianna Fáil Cathaoirleach Mark Daly.

The position is the Seanad’s equivalent of the Dáil’s Ceann Comhairle, with the person responsible for calling on members to address the chamber, keeping order during debates, and suspending sittings if necessary.

Buttimer has become the first openly gay Cathaoirleach of the Seanad in the house’s 100-year history.

He previously served as Leas Cathaoirleach but resigned after attending the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in Galway in August 2020.

“I think Jerry’s career obviously speaks for itself. It’s fostered by the intriguing and social interests in political affairs he had when he was young, and that were encouraged by his mam and dad. He’s always been nosy and always been interested in everything,” Buttimer’s party colleague Regina Doherty told senators as she seconded his nomination.

Doherty also said that Buttimer had approached social change in Ireland with empathy and sensitivity in recent years.

“It’s not just because of all of his political acumen and experience [...], he has an enormous passion for giving and generosity and kindness,” she added.

Independent Senator Victor Boyhan was also nominated by fellow independent Alice-Mary Higgins.

Although Boyhan said it was expected Buttimer would be elected because of the arrangement agreed by the tri-party Coalition, he told senators that it was important to have a vote on the position. 

“If we were never to go for election, none of us would be here. If we were to think of defeat all the time, we would not venture out beyond ourselves, beyond what we might perceive as our own limited capacity.

“And therefore I think it’s important to have an election.”

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