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Government says extra Dail sittings show reforms are working

THE Government last night hailed the extra sitting days for the Dail this year as proof it was delivering on reform.

TDs are off on their Christmas holidays for the next three-and-a-half weeks, but this break is shorter than the typical recess during the Celtic Tiger days.

The Dail will return on Wednesday, January 11.

The typical break during the last decade was for six weeks, with the Dail invariably returning on the final Wednesday in January, although this break was shortened in recent years as a result of the economic crisis.

Between September and December this year, the Dail sat 45 days compared with just 35 sitting days during the same four months in 2010 -- an increase of 30pc.

Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe said the Coalition was making good progress towards the Programme for Government's commitment to increase Dail sitting days by 50pc.

He said the progress would continue, with the full impact of reform next year.

"The extra sitting days were as a result of the Government's decision to return two weeks earlier in September 2011, compared to 2010, not take a mid-term break as was the practice under past governments, and sit on a number of Fridays to discuss Private Members Bills.

"The Dail sat for 14 straight weeks this term, the longest term in a number of years," Mr Kehoe said.

Since the Government took office, the Dail sat for 99 days -- compared with 79 sitting days over a similar period.

"Since the change of government, we have reduced the length of the Dail summer break by four weeks and the breaks at Christmas and at Easter by a week each. The Dail now resumes earlier after bank holidays and regular Friday sitting days have been introduced," Mr Kehoe added.

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