Kenny wanted business concluded by midnight
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny insisted he wanted to "get rid of" the contentious debate on abortion legislation last night.
The Dail ended up sitting into the early hours as the Government agreed to grant more time for debate on amendments.
The final vote on the legislation was due to be taken at 10pm. The time drifted out towards midnight, with permission eventually granted for the Dail to sit until 5am.
Mr Kenny initially told the House during yesterday morning's Order of Business that it would sit until midnight.
He said he had no problem giving more time, but said no issue in the past 40 years had been given "such extensive discussion and debate".
Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe later sought permission for the Dail to sit until 5am, which was granted after a vote.
The Seanad has a week to deal with the Second Stage debate, where Senators set out their position; the Committee Stage, where amendments are debated with ministers; and the Report and Final Stage – the last chance to make changes before the final vote. If changes are made in the Seanad, the bill goes back to the Dail.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin also objected to the 5am sitting, and said the Dail could adjourn for the night and come back today. "This motion put by the Government at no notice has reduced this situation to a farce," Mr Martin said.