Thursday 22 March 2018

Clare Daly led failed calls for Halloween break

Clare Daly at Leinster House. Photo: Tom Burke
Clare Daly at Leinster House. Photo: Tom Burke

Philip Ryan and Kevin Doyle

Independent TD Clare Daly led the calls for a mid-term break for politicians which resulted in an embarrassing stand-off in the Dáil.

Ms Daly was the first to question the absence of a Halloween break for TDs when the Dáil schedule was put before the Oireachtas Business Committee last month. Her demand for a mid-term break was supported by other TDs on the committee and Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty altered the Dáil calendar to include a short recess.

However, yesterday the Dáil descended into farce as TDs voted against the decision to take time off next week.

In an unusual move, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin combined to stop the holidays, meaning deputies must show up for work in Leinster House on Wednesday and Thursday.

In total, 111 TDs voted for the House to sit next week, while just nine voted against the move. Ms Daly and her close ally Mick Wallace, along with five other TDs, voted against coming to work. Ms Daly did not respond to requests for comment.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the original decision to have a Halloween break sent out "the wrong signal completely".

However, Ms Doherty said she had never wanted to schedule a week off but was forced to by a majority of the Dáil's Business Committee, including Fianna Fáil's member Michael Moynihan.

"Everybody on the Business Committee is aware that when I proposed the schedule for the session between September and December we were sitting next week. I was overruled at the Business Committee by practically every other member," she said.

Irish Independent

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