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'Significant cost' of moving Dáil could result in hefty bill

Hugh O'Connell



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The National Convention Centre in Dublin. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The National Convention Centre in Dublin. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

The National Convention Centre in Dublin. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Dáil and Seanad will have to sit in the Convention Centre at a cost of €50,000 per day because it would be unconstitutional to have virtual sittings during the coronavirus restrictions, TDs have been told.

Taxpayers will foot the bill for TDs and senators moving to the 8,000-seater event and concert venue on Dublin's North Wall Quay after Oireachtas authorities were told virtual sittings, where some politicians would appear via video link, would be unconstitutional because they would not be covered by parliamentary privilege.

Several Dáil sittings of 50 or fewer TDs have taken place in Leinster House in recent weeks. However, all 160 TDs will have to be present for the vote to elect a new Taoiseach and, it has now emerged, for sittings on budget matters and possible legislative changes in the coming months.