Tuesday 24 October 2017

A day of tradition and ceremony even if no Taoiseach is elected

President Michael D Higgins. Photo: Caroline Quinn
President Michael D Higgins. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

'Irishmen and Irishwomen: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.'

Those will be the first words read into the record of the 32nd Dáil when it convenes in Leinster House today.

It will be a day full of tradition and ceremony even if, as expected, nobody is elected Taoiseach.

At 10.30am the Clerk of Dáil Éireann, Peter Finnegan, will begin proceedings by reading out the Proclamation which will have been dispatched by President Michael D Higgins.

He will then call out the names of all 158 TDs before moving on to the first official business of the Dáil which is to elect the Ceann Comhairle by secret ballot.

TDs will be told to vote using the PR-STV system that applies in general elections.

The candidates will each be allowed to speak for five minutes before the division bells ring out for six minutes.

At that point the doors into the chamber will be locked except for the two doors on either side of the Ceann Comhairle's seat.

Members will ascend the central staircase and receive their ballot paper.

Following the election of a Ceann Comhairle, he/she will seek nominations for the position of Taoiseach.

It is expected Enda Kenny, Micheál Martin and Gerry Adams will be nominated and time will be allowed for a debate on the merits of each candidate.

If the assembled members fail to nominate a Taoiseach, the Dáil can be adjourned. At that point Enda Kenny is likely to travel to Áras an Uachtaráin to tell President Higgins a new government cannot be formed.

Irish Independent

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