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Our political parties need to park their differences until this emergency is over

John Downing


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‘Big Two’: Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin and Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar during a debate ahead of last month’s general election

‘Big Two’: Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin and Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar during a debate ahead of last month’s general election

‘Big Two’: Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin and Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar during a debate ahead of last month’s general election

There is a growing view that keeping the current Government in office for a fixed anti-coronavirus period may be the best option for the nation. But that requires political action as this Government faces total paralysis inside the next two weeks, as Seanad elections conclude and the Taoiseach does not have the constitutional power to nominate his 11 senators.

So, the parliament will be incomplete and not have power to make new emergency anti-virus laws. Up to now, such laws have been passed by the new Dáil and the old Seanad.

But the upper house is now being replaced via long-winded election procedures that will elect 49 of the 60 Seanad members. The electorate for 43 of these, spread across the various panels, are the 941 city and county councillors, the 160 TDs and the outgoing 60 senators.