Opposition TDs call for extra sittings of the Dáil in run-up to Christmas

Mary Lou McDonald asks for House to sit next week to legislate for electricity bill credit

Opposition TDs have called for extra sittings of the Dáil, ahead of the Christmas break that is set to start later this week.

The Dáil is due to adjourn for its Christmas recess on Thursday evening and is expected to return on January 19th. However, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has asked that the Dáil sit next week to legislate for the €100 credit families will receive towards their electricity bill. The Dublin Central TD said the "modest relief" needed to be delivered to families now, in the height of winter. She said in the Dáil on Tuesday that it seems "crazy and unacceptable" that people would have to wait until the spring time, possibly February or March, to benefit from the €100 relief. Solidarity TD Mick Barry also said he would be in favour of sitting an extra day or two to progress the legislation needed.

In response, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the measure would necessitate legislation but that it will be done “very quickly” when the Dáil resumes. “This measure is being introduced, it is something that will reduce the electricity bill, I think it’s a good measure.

“It will necessitate legislation but I think the fact that people know it’s going to be credited to their bill I think is something that people will be happy with and it’ll be done very quickly on the resumption [of the Dáil],” Mr Martin said.


Broadband plan

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy meanwhile told the Dáil there needed to be a debate there on the National Broadband Plan, on foot of articles which have appeared in The Currency and the Business Post. Recent articles in The Currency and the Business Post have contained revelations about the funding structure of the multi-billion-euro project and the amount of investment via loans in the company which won the contract. "This is a very expensive project and it's really important that we have a debate in this House, that we can actually examine this," she said. Independent TD Mattie McGrath asked that the Dáil sit on Friday so the issue could be debated.

Mr Martin said the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan would be taking questions on the National Broadband Plan in the Dáil on Tuesday evening.

A vote on the Dáil’s weekly agenda, which does not set out time for the legislation needed for the €100 credit towards electricity bills, passed on Tuesday.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times