25 October 2016

Brendan Howlin, has described as a “stunt” Fianna Fáil’s opposition to the agreed proposal of the business committee in relation to Dáil sittings, drawing into question it’s viability.

“This was one of the central planks of Dáil Reform aimed at delivering the new politics that Micheál Martin had demanded when this Dáil first sat after the election. One of Micheál Martin’s key requirements was that a new business committee would take control of the Dáil schedule away from the Government.

“Micheál Martin has killed off the newly formed Dáil business committee today. The ‘do nothing Dáil’ has moved from inept to shambolic.”

“Like the vast majority of TDs I have no issue with the Dáil sitting next week, as any opportunity for this “do nothing” Government to progress some legislation is fine by me.”

However, the manner in which Fianna Fáil has acted has totally eroded any trust we can have in them as an honest player in agreeing the business of the Dáil. At best, their actions today can be described as populist, at worst, it is a cynical attempt to undermine new and much needed processes aimed at improving how business is conducted in our national parliament which they demanded in the first place.

The Dáil Schedule for any given week is agreed in advance at the Business Committee, where all sides of the House are represented. All deputies around that table have worked pragmatically to agree the schedule in as fair and honest a manner as possible. It has worked to ensure a fairer method for deciding weekly business.

The Business Committee of which Fianna Fáil is a member had agreed the Dáil schedule for this term which was to run up to Christmas week with a recess at Halloween. The Government had actually asked the Dáil to sit this week. It is bizarre now that the Fianna Fáil leader is going behind the back of his own member on the Business committee.

If new politics is to mean anything, then Fianna Fáil, like all parties, should abide by what they had agreed instead of using their numbers to dominate the business of the Dáil to their own advantage.


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