Wednesday 13 December 2017

Jim O'Callaghan: Dáil is weakest link - and it badly needs reform

The Dáil chamber. Photo: Tony Gavin
The Dáil chamber. Photo: Tony Gavin

Jim O'Callaghan

When Dáil Éireann reassembles on March 10, there will be two items on the agenda: the election of Ceann Comhairle and the election of Taoiseach.

The election of Ceann Comhairle of the 32nd Dáil will be interesting, not simply because the election of that important office holder will not be within the control of political parties that will inevitably form the government, but also because any candidate who wishes to be elected will have to set forward proposals that will actually achieve Dáil reform.

Historically, the legislative programme of Dáil Éireann has been controlled by the government of the day. Very limited time is afforded to members who wish to introduce their own private members' legislation. As a result, most TDs who are not members of government see very little purpose in drafting and promoting legislation, since it is unlikely to get the time and support required to become law.

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