(l-r) Senators Fiach Mac Congail, Marie Louise O’Donnell, Mary Ann O’Brien, Jillian Van Turnout, Katherine Zappone and Martin McAleese
Soon after our appointment by the Taoiseach, seven of us Senators formed a technical group similar to the one formed by independent deputies in the Dáil. We call ourselves the Independent Group (of the Taoiseach’s nominees) and I am joined by Senators Fiach Mac Congail, Marie Louise O’Donnell, Mary Ann O’Brien, Jillian Van Turnout, and Martin McAleese. Senator Jillian Van Turnout was appointed as Group Leader and I am delighted to have been appointed Whip of the group. The Group put a motion before the House on reform of Seanad deliberations. With a view to changing the way in which Government functions we proposed that well-informed citizens and residents be invited to brief the House on relevant issues on a case-by-case basis. Dr. Maurice Manning, President of the Irish Human Rights Commission, will be the first civic leader invited to address the Chamber.