Independent TD Michael McNamara has been appointed as chairperson of the new Dáil committee scrutinising the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former Labour Party TD beat off the challenge of Sinn Féin's David Cullinane to take the position.
Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil joined the Greens and Labour in putting their support behind the Claire man.
Deputy McNamara thanked those who voted for him in the Dáil chamber this afternoon:
“I thank all of my colleagues for the honour that you have bestowed on me,” he said.
“I think we are all very aware of the importance of the work that this committee will carry out. I hope that we can do so in as collegiate a manner as possible and also that we can keep things as short as possible.”
The committed is made up of 19 members and is meeting for the first time today.
It is now attempting to agree on a schedule of work that will include questioning some of the top officials and politicians involved in responding to the Coronavirus crisis.
Sinn Féin's Louise O'Reilly said it will provide some much-needed oversight into the Government’s handling of the outbreak.
“What we are going to be doing is ensuring we inject some political accountability,” she said.
“Major, major decisions have been made over which there has been very little oversight. That has been something that has been absent and I know people have been commenting on that.
“I think it is an important committee. I think the fact that there are 19 members means that there will be a good range and spread of voices.
In the absence of any other committees and with the Dáil sitting a reduced schedule at the moment, this COVID-19 committee is expected to have a high profile over the coming weeks.
With reporting from Seán Defoe …