TDs reprimanded for being late for Dáil business

Leas-Cheann Comhairle Pat Gallagher criticises Deputies for their repeated tardiness

Leas-Cheann Comhairle Pat “The Cope” Gallagher has criticised Deputies for failing to turn up on time for Dáil business. Video: Oireachtas TV

 

TDs got a verbal rap on the knuckles for their repeated lateness after failing to turn up on time for Dáil business on Wednesday morning.

Leas-Cheann Comhairle Pat “The Cope” Gallagher criticised Deputies for their repeated tardiness for the first business of the day.

Mr Gallagher said the Dáil was 13 minutes late on Wednesday in starting questions.

“It certainly gives a wrong perception to the public who are watching in this morning,” he said.

In general 20 TDs must be present in the Dáil during a quorum call for a debate.

However, for question time in the morning before the order of business starts, the requirement is for half that number to be in attendance.

The Leas-Cheann Comhairle said: “It’s not a matter for the chair to provide the quorum.”

And he added in relation to TDs’ lateness: “It is happening too frequently.

“It’s unfair to those who have questions further down the order paper.

“It’s not necessary to say anything more,” he said, adding that the responsibility for this was not with the chair but elsewhere.

Under the confidence-and-supply arrangement agreed between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, Dáil business was originally scheduled to commence at noon on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

This allowed TDs attend Oireachtas committee meetings without having to be in the Dáil at the same time.

However, the Government requested an extension of Dáil hours because of the amount of business to be conducted.

Parties were asked to allow the 90-minute slot for questions to Government Ministers on issues within their departments to take place before noon.