Thursday 21 September 2017

Explained: Why everybody is getting excited about being Ceann Comhairle

Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan. Photo: Collins Photo Agency
Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan. Photo: Collins Photo Agency
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A NEW Taoiseach will not be elected on Thursday but the political uncertainty thrown up by the election result means the competition for the Ceann Comhairle’s seat will be intense.

The first job of the new Dáil will be to elect a chairman in a vote that will for the first time by secret ballot.

In one of their final acts the outgoing coalition changed the process for selecting a Ceann Comhairle, who is automatically re-elected to the next Dáil.

However, the position will be even more coveted on this occasion given that many pundits believe another election could happen in the short-term.

Fianna Fáil meets to today to select a party nominee from Michael Moynihan (Cork North West), Sean Ó Fearghaíl (Kildare South), Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher (Donegal) and Brendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan).

Sinn Féin is putting forward their longest serving TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, while Maureen O’Sullivan has the backing of a large number of independents.

Several Fine Gael TDs have talked about going for the position but the most likely candidate is now Wicklow’s Andrew Doyle.

Essentially their job is to keep order during Dáil debates and to ensure that all TDs follow the rules of the House.

By tradition he/she precludes themselves from active participation in politics but remains free to make representations on behalf of constituents.

Nominations for the post must be submitted to the Clerk of the Dáil’s office by 6pm on Wednesday.

Their nomination must be supported by the signatures of no fewer than seven other TDs.

Candidates may, in addition to putting themselves forward for election, add their supporting signature to one other nomination.

A list of the validly nominated candidates will then be published on the Oireachtas website, with the candidates listed in alphabetical order – but the names of their supporters will not be published.

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