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Dail must heal divides - re-elected O Fearghail

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Landslide vote for incumbent

Landslide vote for incumbent

Landslide vote for incumbent

Sean O Fearghail began his second term as Ceann Comhairle by urging TDs to work together to solve the problems facing the country.

Despite the divided nature of the new Dail, Mr O Fearghail was returned to the chair in a landslide.

He picked up 130 votes, defeating Independent TD Denis Naughten who secured 28.

The role of Ceann Comhairle commands a salary of more than €175,000 plus expenses.

Assuming the job, Mr O Fearghail vowed to execute the office "without fear or favour" and apply the rules of the Dail while upholding the rights of members.

Election 2020 has left Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and Fine Gael with roughly the same number of seats and government formation is expected to be painstakingly slow. Mr O Fearghail's election means Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein both now have 37 votes in the Dail.

Challenging

The returning Ceann Comhairle told TDs: "We are in a challenging position, we know that.

"But this parliament has a responsibility. This Dail must work together... because the problems that remain to be confronted are substantial."

Mr O Fearghail also praised his challenger. He called Denis Naughten a "parliamentarian of very considerable standing".

Earlier Mr Naughten had pitched for the job with an impassioned call for greater accountability from the public service.

He hit out at disrespectful single-sentence answers to parliamentary questions and delays in responses from State agencies.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar were among those who congratulated Mr O Fearghail.


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