No mid-term break for TDs after last minute Dáil U-turn

Government accuses Fianna Fáil of "completely undermining" the Dáil Business Committee

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Inside Leinster House. Photo: /RollingNews.ie

Dáil members will not be enjoying a full mid-term break next week after a late Fianna Fáil change of heart.

The Dáil Business Committee - a cross party panel which orders the work of the house - had previously agreed not to sit next week, however the decision was overruled by the chamber after a Fianna Fáil U-turn on the issue this afternoon.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin claimed the proposal was “sending out the wrong signal” and said the Dáil had enjoyed an extended summer break due to planned renovations in Leinster House – which never went ahead.

Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty said Fianna Fáil had voted in favour of the break at the last business committee session and accused Deputy Martin of “completely undermining” the process.

Ms Doherty said she had been in favour of scrapping the mid-term all along - before being outvoted in the committee.

“I said that I didn't feel that we should have one on the basis that we have a fairly large legislative program to pass between now and Christmas,” she said.

"I was overruled and told that we should have one. I came back the following week with the schedule and rather than actually diminish the Dáil's sitting days by two and a half days, I added them on to Christmas week."

The Fianna Fáil decision caused consternation in the house as Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the AAA-PBP all voted against taking the break.

TDs voted by 111 to nine to sit on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Independent TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace were among the nine who voted in favour of the adjournment.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin said the decision meant the Business Committee has “clearly become farcical.”   

Independent TD Mattie McGrath – who is a member of the committee – questioned whether there is now any point of having the panel meet again.

"I wonder what the point in having the business committee is if we are going to come in here and make a populist decision to overrule it,” he said.

The Dáil will now sit on Wednesday 2nd and Thursday 3rd November.