Sunday 28 May 2017

Scary... TDs vote to cancel their Halloween break after Dáil row

The decision followed a row between Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty.
The decision followed a row between Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty.
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

TDs have voted to cancel their mid-term break despite party representatives previously agreeing to take next week off.

In an unusual move, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin combined to stop the holidays meaning deputies must show up for work in Leinster House on Wednesday and Thursday.

In total 111 TDs voted for the House to sit next week, while just nine voted against the move.

It followed a row between Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty.

Mr Martin said the original decision to have a Halloween break sent out “the wrong signal completely”.

“The Dáil rose on the July 21 and came back on September 22. In July we were all told there was major works to be undertaken to the physical refurbishment of the House and that didn’t happen at all.

“So it transpired there was no necessity for the longer than usual summer recess,” Mr Martin said.

However, Ms Doherty said that she had never wanted to schedule a week off but was forced to by a majority of the Dáil’s Business Committee, including Fianna Fáil’s member Michael Moynihan.

“Everybody on the Business Committee is aware that when I proposed the schedule for the session between September and December we were sitting next week. I was overruled at the Business Committee by practically every other member…” she said.

Ms Doherty said she didn’t feel there should be a break because of “a fairly large legislative programme” between now and Christmas.

“Rather than actually diminish the Dáil sitting time by two and a half days I added them on to Christmas week so now unfortunately for everybody in the House they’ll be sitting Christmas week as opposed to sitting next week,” she said.

After the vote, Ms Doherty said she found herself in the “strange position” of getting what she had wanted all along.

However, Independent TD Mattie McGrath described it as “a populist decision to overrule” the work of the Business Committee.

The Dáil will now sit on Wednesday of next week which is the same day as Taoiseach Enda Kenny as scheduled a forum on Brexit.

The members of the Business Committee are: Mick Barry (AAA-PBP), Clare Daly (Independents4Change), Regina Doherty (FG), Mattie McGrath (Rural Technical Group), Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran (Independent), Michael Moynihan (FF), Catherine Murphy (SD-Green Group), Aengus Ó Snodaigh (SF) and Brendan Ryan (Lab).

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