Call to have daily Dáil prayer ended

 

A CALL HAS been made to end the prayer said every day in the Dáil before the start of business.

People Before Profit TD Joan Collins said the religious content in the oath of office for the inauguration of the President should be removed, and “it should also be removed from this chamber”, she told the Dáil.

The Dublin South Central TD said she was unsure if there was a constitutional requirement for a Dáil prayer, but “it should be taken off the agenda. There should be a minute’s silence so members can reflect on their own belief or non-belief in an entity.”

Ms Collins was speaking during a debate on legislation to reform the presidential office, introduced by Independent TD Catherine Murphy, who said she wanted to make the office “far more accessible and relevant to citizens”.

The Kildare North TD proposed altering the oath of office to allow a president-elect to omit religious references if they chose; reducing the term of office from seven to five years; reducing the age of candidate eligibility from 35 to 18 and reducing from 20 to 10 the number of Oireachtas members needed for nomination

Ms Murphy said the election campaign placed an enormous focus on the office of President, and “now is the time to seize the opportunity to correct some of the more obvious flaws in the current constitutional provisions”.

She said that since the President “is the only office-holder in Ireland who is elected by all of the people, it is vital that our presidency continues to evolve and reflect the dynamic nature of modern Irish society”.