Government attacked for taking four-week holiday
THE Government was attacked yesterday for taking a four-week Christmas break while the country grapples with severe economic problems.
TDs left for their Christmas holidays yesterday and will not return until January 12, giving them a 26-day break from their official duties.
The opposition called for the Dail to sit next week and come back early in the New Year to clear Budget-related legislation.
But the Government dismissed this idea and comfortably won a vote on the issue by 78 to 63.
The break will bring an end to one of the most turbulent Dail terms in years, a time which was characterised by the IMF/EU bailout for Ireland.
During rowdy exchanges in the Dail, Fine Gael's Dr James Reilly said his party would give up their free time next week to help pass vital legislation.
And he insisted the quicker this was done the sooner the country could have a new Government and start a recovery process.
"Everyone in the country who is fortunate to have a job will be working next week. I see no reason why the Dail cannot continue its work next week and resume early in the New Year," he said.
Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said the break was "unacceptable". The Taoiseach, he added, was attending a crucial EU summit next week, which would discuss the financial crisis in Europe. "It is not acceptable that we have to wait until mid-January before the Dail can consider the outcome of this important European Council meeting," he said.