Senators to take week off despite TD holiday row
Senators will not return to work next week - despite public pressure following the farcical Dáil row which forced TDs to cancel their plans for a Halloween recess.
TDs abandoned plans to take next week off after Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin raised concerns in the Dáil and said taking a break soon after the summer recess sent out the wrong message to the public.
After fiery exchanges in the Dáil, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin all backed a vote to cancel the holidays which had been previously agreed by the Oireachtas Business Committee.
However, senators decided to stick to the schedule which was originally agreed by the committee.
One senior Fine Gael senator last night said: "Why should we be forced to forgo the break because they made a cock-up in their chamber?"
At a tense meeting of the Business Committee last night, TDs were severely critical of Mr Martin's handling of the holiday debacle.
Members discussed calling the Fianna Fáil leader before the committee to explain his actions and also talked about demanding an apology from Mr Martin.
However, it was eventually decided not to pursue either proposal.
Business Committee member Kevin 'Boxer' Moran accused Mr Martin of "dragging politics back to the old days".
"A lot of people on the committee are angry with what he has done. It's not about the holidays, we are trying to show the public that minority governments can work and what Micheál did was a populist move," he told the Irish Independent.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil TDs on the Dáil Reform Committee demanded more speaking time for their members.
Fianna Fáil is anxious that its TDs are given prominent speaking time during Dáil debates. The issue has also been raised by Mr Martin with the Ceann Comhairle's office.