Thursday 17 August 2017

Watchdog rejects proposal for ban on mobile phone signal in Dáil chamber

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he believes a block on mobile phone signal in the chamber would be a step too far. Photo: Maxwell's
Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he believes a block on mobile phone signal in the chamber would be a step too far. Photo: Maxwell's
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

A member of the Dáil's watchdog committee has said he believes a block on mobile phone signal in the chamber would be a step too far.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath said politicians needed to be able to keep in contact with staff and supporters during Dáil business via email.

He was responding to remarks made by Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, who said the persistent use of mobile phones by TDs was "profoundly sad".

Mr Ó Fearghaíl told this newspaper he had asked his officials to consider the prospect of placing a block on phone signal within the chamber itself.

But speaking on 'Newstalk Breakfast' yesterday, Mr McGrath rejected the proposal.

He is a member of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges which will ultimately decide whether to restrict mobile phone use in the chamber in the future.

"There is nothing wrong with being able to screen the calls and if there is an urgent call, leave the chamber and take it," Mr McGrath said. "But blocking off the signal completely, I don't think it will work because you have to separate the signal for the phone call from the signal for the email because not that you are not listening to the speakers, but you have to respond to certain issues."

Irish Independent

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