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Politicians to take six-week break from next Thursday

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The House is to rise on Thursday July 30, and will not return from recess until ‘mid-September’(Photo: PA)

The House is to rise on Thursday July 30, and will not return from recess until ‘mid-September’(Photo: PA)

PA

The House is to rise on Thursday July 30, and will not return from recess until ‘mid-September’(Photo: PA)

Politicians will take a six-week break from next Thursday – despite only electing a Taoiseach less than a month ago.

Covid-19 and protracted negotiations between the parties paralysed Dáil proceedings for months in the wake of the February election.

A total of 140 days went by without a working majority being formed in the House to enable the current administration to take office.

After Micheál Martin’s elevation there have been three weekly sittings of three Dáil days each, along with a four-day week.

Now the House is to rise on Thursday July 30, and will not return from recess until ‘mid-September,’ it has been confirmed.

The time away from the chamber will be more than six weeks, although many TDs continue their work throughout, with the pandemic having led to increased piles in their in-trays this year.

Minister for Public Enterprise Michael McGrath told the Dáil yesterday that he had been working in his office on a range of issues “until after 11pm last night.”

Some Dáil committees typically return to business slightly in advance of a return from recess, and could be back in operation in early September.

But August – a traditionally dead month for politics – will see no sittings of the Dáil or Senate, with the upper house taking its lead from the lower. That’s despite a displaced working year for many and a continuing pandemic – with no sittings of the Dail’s committee on Covid-19.

Many Ministers are expected to continue to read themselves into their briefs over the summer recess and will stay at work for a while within their Department.

But the absence of formal proceedings will still likely raise eyebrows among some members of the public, given the lack of oversight of Government decisions and policy formulation thus far in the 33rd Dáil.

Recent Governments have threatened continued Dáil sittings if the Opposition makes an issue of the recess. Former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar faced down complaints in this manner, accusing members opposite of grandstanding for public effect in their bemoaning of the adjournment.

Nonetheless there are expected to be objections to the Government motion from Sinn Féin and left-wing groups, safe in the knowledge that the three-way coalition has a comfortable majority to ensure it has its way.

The exact date for the return of the chamber, pencilled in as 'mid-September,' will be agreed by the whips of all parties in due course, Leinster House authorities said.

Online Editors