Several TDs refuse to observe new Dáil prayer rules

TDs from Solidarity, People Before Profit and Independents4Change could face disciplinary action

Several TDs refuse to observe new Dáil prayer rules

The Dail chamber at Leinster House. Image: Laura Hutton/RollingNews

The row over the Dáil prayer seems to have passed without major incident - after Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl chose to ignore six TDs who did not stand for the prayer.

The members from Solidarity, People Before Profit and Independents4Change refused to stand in the chamber.

Two TDs from Solidarity held up signs, saying 'Separate Church and State' during the moment of silence afterwards.

Last week TDs rejected three different attempts to abolish the mandatory daily prayer – and instead voted to include 30 seconds of reflective silence afterward.

The rules make it mandatory to stand for the prayer.

Those who do not stand could face disciplinary action – including the loss of a day’s pay.

It is up to Deputy Ó Fearghaíl to determine whether rules have been broken – and to enforce them if necessary.

On Newstalk's High Noon yesterday Deputy Ruth Coppinger said her party was not raising the issue in an effort to secure votes – but rather highlight a “question of conscience” facing TDs.

"What I won't stand for - metaphorically and literally - is the idea that TDs were elected to pray,” she said. “We weren't elected to pray."

"A very big issue right now is the separation of church and State.

“A new generation does not think that the Dáil should have one prayer of one denomination.

"If they had thought about the consequences, it's of dubious legality that you force elected representatives to stand for a prayer because it's got nothing to do with the mandate upon which we are elected."

You can listen back to Deputy Coppinger’s appearance on High Noon here: