TDs to begin 12-day mid-term break on Thursday

Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin has called for the length of the break to be cut back

TDs to begin 12-day mid-term break on Thursday

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

TDs have voted to give themselves a 12-day mid-term break starting this Thursday. 

That was despite an attempt from Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin to curtail the Dáil recess to just a long weekend. 

He warned that the Dáil has sat for only six weeks since the summer recess, adding that the 12-day break was “excessive.” 

“That is my genuine view and I have been saying it to Deputies for quite some time,” he said.

“The Dáil should reconvene on Wednesday 1st November and Thursday 2nd November - which used to be a normal occurrence after bank holiday weekends."

He claimed that there is a “tendency for the Dáil to sit less and less as we go on” claiming that the government may have “its reasons” for allowing that to happen. 

His calls received only muted support from his own party - with silence from Fine Gael and Sinn Féin - and a roasting from Independent TD Mattie McGrath: 

“We have a lot of work to do,” said Deputy Martin. “And we are not going to get it all done sandwiched between Wednesdays and Thursdays every week.” 

Deputy McGrath said the break had already been agreed by the Dáil Business Committee – and accused the Fianna Fáil leader of grandstanding. 

“What about the staff who have booked holidays?” he asked.

“What about all other staff and people who have been thrown into disarray just for grandstanding here by Deputy Martin?

“And that is all it is, grandstanding of the highest order.”

Deputy Martin claimed his party had sent a letter to the Business Committee on the matter as far back as the 22nd of September.

The Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney – who was sitting in for the Taoiseach – said the break had already been discussed and debated.

He said: “There was an agreement by consensus at the Business Committee and that is where we should leave it.”