TDs' working week increases as holidays slashed
THE number of Dail sitting days will increase by 50pc as TDs move to a four-day week and see their holiday leave massively reduced at summer, Christmas and Easter.
Under a vast package of political and constitutional reforms, Fine Gael and Labour have also pledged to examine reducing the voting age to 17 and enabling citizens abroad to vote at Irish embassies in the presidential election.
Such proposals will now be considered by a special Constitutional Convention, which will also examine how the number of women in politics can be increased, reducing the presidential term to five years and providing for same-sex marriage.
And in beefing up the workload of TDs in the Dail, the number of sitting days will increase by 50pc, from three days a week to four.
The summer recess will amount to just six weeks, while breaks at Christmas and Easter will be "significantly reduced". The practice of providing a "mid-term break" around St Patrick's Day and Halloween will also be abandoned.
Areas of previous agreement, such as abolishing the Seanad and holding a referendum on children's rights and a referendum to cut the salaries of judges, are also going ahead.
Despite the parties previously publishing figures on reducing the number of TDs, a decision won't be made until after the 2011 Census. But political pensions will no longer be paid to sitting TDs, as politicians will only qualify for a pension at the national retirement age.