Should the Dáil prayer be saved?

As well as the prayer, a 30 second silence will be witnessed by TDs

The Dáil prayer will be saved, as TDs look set to approve it among other changes - including having 30 seconds of silence - during government proceedings today.

However, some TDs have argued that the Christian prayer does not reflect Ireland's multi-cultural society.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, Independent TD for Tipperary Mattie McGrath said it was not unusual for the Dáil to participate in the practice.

"There are a significant number of parliaments all over the world, in Europe and outside, like the UK, Canada, South Africa, Australia [...] I have yet to encounter any widespread resistance to the practice among the majority of members."

However, Ruth Coppinger, Solidarity-People Before Profit TD for Dublin West, said the Dáil should be a secular place, and do more in reflecting diversity. 

"It would be highly offensive to many of the Hindus, Muslims et cetera who might want to stand for parliament, who might get elected to the Dáil and be forced to subscribe in some way to one religion.

"It's baffling, really. Why is the hierarchy in the Dáil trying to embed archaic practises at a time when society is moving in the opposite direction?"

What is the prayer?

The prayer says: "Direct, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our actions by Thy holy inspirations and carry them on by Thy gracious assistance; that every word and work of ours may always begin from Thee, and by Thee be happily ended; through Christ our Lord. Amen."

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy told Newstalk last year: "In some ways it's symbolic of items that are very important - which is that we don't have a separation of church and state in this country.

"We are about tolerance. I think tolerance would mean we don't have an explicitly religious moment of reflection at the start of the day," he added.

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