Extended summer recess for Dáil

 

The Dáil will take holidays for three months until the end of September, Taoiseach Brian Cowen has said.

For several years the House has returned after the summer recess in mid-September, but this year it will have a break of 12 weeks.

During a noisy and lengthy Order of Business, when the business for the day is set, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny asked the Taoiseach when the Dáil would resume when it adjourns tomorrow for the summer break.

Mr Cowen said it would “probably” be the “end of September, the 29th”.

There were a number of votes on the Order of Business, and the Opposition again hit out at the guillotining or cutting of debates on legislation being rushed through the Dáil and Seanad ahead of the summer recess.

During the Order of Business and leaders' questions there were heated exchanges about cuts in respite services for people with disabilities.

Mr Cowen insisted that no decision had been made but after repeated interventions from the Opposition including Fine Gael chairman Padraig McCormack and Labour health spokeswoman Jan O'Sullivan about respite services already closed, he said the Government would ensure that no "frontline" services would be affected but "non-frontline" services would have to be changed.

"We can't presume on continuation of services as currently delivered and protect frontline services."

He told the House 130 people would be affected by changes. He said 5,000 people received services and 4,870 were not affected.