Kenny promises to create ‘more energetic’ House

Martin criticised Taoiseach over lack of reforms

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has promised a “more serious look at how we focus on the operation of the Dáil”. Photograph: Eric Luke

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has promised a “more serious look at how we focus on the operation of the Dáil”. Photograph: Eric Luke

 


Taoiseach Enda Kenny has promised a “more serious look at how we focus on the operation of the Dáil” as part of major reforms of the lower House.

He hopes to talk to party leaders and their party whips about reform proposals to make the House “more energetic” in the run-up to the referendum on the abolition of the Seanad. This will take place in autumn.

Mr Kenny told the House the question of reform “is a matter for Government and for the Oireachtas. It is in everybody’s interest that we make decisions about a more effective running of this House to use the time more effectively to provide opportunities for people to get involved in legislation in a way that has started with the Friday sittings and the production of Private Members’ Bills and so on.” He said that, in an average week of 24 hours’ legislative work, some 11 hours goes to the detail of legislation.

“We have to make arrangements for people who want to raise priority issues, topical issues, priority questions and Leaders’ Questions.”

He added: “We need to take a serious look at how we focus on the operation of the House here to make it more effective and more energetic.”


Lack of reforms
When Micheál Martin criticised the Taoiseach over lack of reforms, Mr Kenny retorted there had been no appetite for change in that government.

“Instead, the then government went the other way and set up a plethora of Dáil committees, rewarding chairmen, vice-chairmen, conveners and everyone else. Measures included the appointment of 20 Ministers of State to keep people quiet.”

Mr Kenny said he had previously announced some of the reforms, “such as use of the d’Hondt system for the dispensation of the new system of committee chairs to provide greater cross-sectional involvement in such committees”.