Could the Dáil block mobile phone signals inside the chamber?

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl think it may be necessary

Could the Dáil block mobile phone signals inside the chamber?

Enda Kenny arriving at the Dáil speaking on a mobile phone | Image: RollingNews.ie

Authorities in Leinster House are to investigate whether mobile phone signals can be blocked in the Dáil chamber.

It comes after the Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl said the regular use of phones by TDs was "profoundly sad".

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Ó Fearghaíl said it was sad that TDs were "so addicted to their mobile phones that they cannot leave them outside".

"What I have discussed with the management team here is whether or not we could actually block mobile devices in the chamber, which would therefore render them useless to people," he said.

"On a broader level, I think it's particularly sad that legislators are so addicted to their mobile phones that they cannot leave them outside when they are transacting the important business of the Dáil."

His comments come six months after the sound system in the chamber was upgraded, so that microphones are now immune from mobile phone interference.

But Independent TD for Tipperary, Mattie McGrath, thinks a block is too harsh.

"It's a matter of being able to, I suppose, screen the calls and if there's an urgent call (to) leave the chamber and take it.

"But blocking off the signal completely I don't think will work because (you would have to) separate the signal for the phone call as against the signal for the e-mail.

"It's not that you're not listening to the other speakers, but you're formulating ideas on the go and you have to respond to certain issues".