Wednesday 16 October 2019

Democracy inaction as the the 17 struggle to be heard

The Independents were in a right old tizzy. They were practically jostling each other out of the way to do their bit for democracy with the sort of fevered determination displayed by auld wans outside Clerys after Christmas queuing for a €50 washing-machine.

What started as a beef between the Technical group's leader, Kildare TD Catherine Murphy and the Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett over speaking rights for Team Tech, escalated into full-scale war before one could say 'Vladimir Putin'.

It all kicked off when the usually mild-mannered Catherine started a scrap with Sean Barrett over a letter she had received from his office regarding arrangements for speaking rights for the group which is essentially a loose confection of political all-sorts who have banded together in sufficient numbers to acquire valuable speaking time in the Dail.

The trouble lies in the fact that their numbers are expanding - thanks to the recent inclusion of Lucinda Creighton and Peter Mathews - but their speaking-time allocation remains the same.

The Ceann Comhairle has a fuse as short as one of Rihanna's skirts, and the argument went downhill faster than an Olympic bobsleigh.

The shouting escalated, the Ceann ordered a 15 minute recess - and another - and then another.

It didn't work. The chaos continued. Catherine was forced to walk the plank after a vote was called to eject her.

John Halligan followed her out the door, and then it was the turn of Donegal's Thomas Pringle.

The Dail 17 were up in arms. When Finian McGrath rose in readiness to be Martyr Number 4 to the cause, the Ceann Comhairle brought the curtain down on the whole farce and suspended business for the rest of the day.

The Dail's business was over by 2.30pm. Democracy in action? Democracy inaction, more like.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss

Editor's Choice