Friday 28 October 2016

Kevin Doyle: TDs whisper the 'E' word in the 'Do Nothing Dáil'

Published 21/04/2016 | 02:30

The Dáil chamber. Photo: Tony Gavin
The Dáil chamber. Photo: Tony Gavin

The Dáil sat for seven hours yesterday, and our TDs had plenty to say.

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There was talk about mental health funding, the trolley crisis and rising insurance premiums.

They actually weren't bad debates, with many new deputies making their maiden speeches.

Across in another room the new Housing Committee met for the first time to decide on a chairman and on their priorities.

But what did it all mean? Very little.

A number of TDs argued that the Dáil should debate the High Court ruling that has called into question the application of suspended sentences - but no, that wouldn't be possible.

The acting Taoiseach did make a short statement saying the acting Government was working on it and could have legislation within days. But that was it.

Outside the chamber, most TDs were milling around the corridors speculating on what might happen to Irish Water or enjoying the sun trap that is the Leinster House plinth.

Politicians and journalists were on edge as rumours of problems at the Government talks filtered back from Trinity College.

Everybody was quick to realise that the real business was being done away from Leinster House and, unless that reaches a swift and positive conclusion, all the talk about fixing the health and housing crises is pointless. So, for the moment, it remains the 'Do Nothing Dáil'.

It dawned on Fianna Fáil's Robert Troy as he made his contribution on insurance.

"There's no point in anybody coming here making statements if nobody is going to listen," he told the four other people in the chamber.

Today we will be treated to nearly eight hours of debate on Brexit - but it's unlikely David Cameron or Boris Johnson will feel the need to tune into it.

Meanwhile, the 'election' word is still being mentioned in hushed tones.

Irish Independent

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