The upcoming expansion of Dáil Éireann could see Government growing out of Leinster House and into the National History Museum.
Ireland’s growing population could see an extra 19 TDs elected to the Dáil in the next General election.
Earlier this month Cabinet approved changes to the Electoral Reform Bill, which will see the number of TDs increasing to at least 169 and no more than 179 – up from the current figure of 160.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Newstalk Political Correspondent Sean Defoe said the Office of Public Works has now been asked to consider alternative options for housing the Dáil in case the next government has more TDs than Leinster House can handle.
He said the increase is necessary because the Constitution demands that Ireland has one TD for every 20,000 – 30,000 people.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, architect Hugh Wallace had several suggestions for the Dáil’s new digs.
“I think the perfect location for them is up in the Central Mental Hospital,” he joked.
“That old building is up there. It would be perfect for them, the Dáil deputies could have their own little rooms and when they are having a tantrum, you could close the door … it would be perfect.”
Mr Wallace said his second suggestion would be Citywest, where there is 770 rooms and a golf course, “so there would be no Golfgate.”
“In all seriousness though, the National History Museum beside the Dáil on the Merrion Square side would be a perfect building because it is linked to the existing Dáil building,” he said.
“And the problem the National history Museum is that the building is not big enough for their exhibits so that could go out to the zoo, where it would be a perfect combination.”
He said keeping the Dáil around Merrion Square would be effective because it forms the centre of many government departments.
“The reality is the Dáil needs to stay where it is because, if you like, the 10,000 people who work for it in their different departments are adjacent to it,” he said.
“The idea of uprooting all that and moving it isn’t as simple as it sounds. So obviously it would be another €2bn later or €3bn by the time we had finished.”
You can listen back here: