Oireachtas can pass laws in public interest without Taoiseach Seanad nominees

Ceann Comhairle correct to raise issue but there is scope within Constitution to allow Oireachtas to function after March 29th

The Seanad Bell. Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, made a startling claim: “from midnight next Sunday 29 March 2020”, he reportedly wrote, “the Houses of the Oireachtas will not be able to pass legislation.” File photograph: Tom Honan

The Seanad Bell. Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, made a startling claim: “from midnight next Sunday 29 March 2020”, he reportedly wrote, “the Houses of the Oireachtas will not be able to pass legislation.” File photograph: Tom Honan

In an email sent to a member of Dáil Éireann over the past few days, the recently re-elected Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, made a startling claim: “from midnight next Sunday 29 March 2020”, he reportedly wrote, “the Houses of the Oireachtas will not be able to pass legislation.”

This was no solo run on Ó Fearghaíl’s part. He is reported to have said so on the basis of legal advice given by the Attorney General, Séamus Woulfe. We can now safely call this the “official view”. The Attorney General’s advice is sure to have turned on an interpretation of certain provisions of article 18 of the Constitution around the composition of the Seanad – which we consider momentarily.

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