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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Package of proposed Dail changes if Seanad abolished

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

THE Government has announced a package of Dail reforms it will introduce if the referendum to abolish the Seanad is passed.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore this afternoon announced the Coalition’s proposals to abolish the Upper House.

Mr Kenny said he hoped the referendum will be held in early October, and also announced Dail reforms which would go hand in hand with Seanad abolition.

But Mr Kenny would not say if he will reform the Dail if the people vote to retain the Seanad.

Mr Kenny and Mr Gilmore said they expected all their TDs and senators to vote and campaign for abolition, but would not say if there will be consequences for Fine Gael and Labour parliamentary party members who rebel against the Government.

The new Dail proposals include 14 committees, which will have 12 members, which will be able to invite in outside experts.

These will include:

*Four “strategic Dail committees on issues of major strategic and political importance” such as the Public Accounts, Finance and EU Scrutiny.

*Seven sectoral committees to shadow Government departments.

*Three “thematic” committees which will focus on specific issues like the Good Friday Agreement.

The d’Hondt system – a method of distributed between parties and TDs -will be introduced to distribute chairs of key committees on a proportional and equitable basis.

The Dail schedule will also be changed.

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