Seán Ó Fearghail re-elected as Dáil's Ceann Comhairle


Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

14.27 20 Feb 2020


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Seán Ó Fearghail has been re-elected as Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil.

The Kildare South Fianna Fáil TD reached the quota with 130 votes from TDs, while Independent Denis Naughten - the only other candidate - received 28 votes.

Mr Ó Fearghail's re-election to the impartial chairman role means Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin now have the same number of votes in the Dáil - the Kildare South deputy's automatic re-election had given Fianna Fáil 38 seats compared to Sinn Féin's 37.

The result of the vote for Ceann Comhairle was declared this afternoon by Peter Finnegan, clerk of the Dáil, after a secret ballot of deputies:

Making his re-election bid earlier, Mr Ó Fearghaíl - who has held the Ceann Comhairle role since 2016 - told deputies: "I seek a renewal of the mandate and I hope my work over the past four years has assisted the progression of the crucial Dáil reform agenda to make our Dáil more reflective of and responsive to the needs of a national Parliament in 2020.

"I work on the basic principle of respect for the mandate that each member of the Dáil has received from the electorate.

"That mandate is in every respect equal and deserving of similar priority."

First sitting of new Dáil

Today marks the first meeting of the 33rd Dáil, with the election of the Ceann Comhairle the first major order of business.

This afternoon there will be votes to elect a Taoiseach - though no one is likely to be successful as nobody commands a majority of the House.

However, the names of the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Fine Gael are all set to be put forward.

Micheál Martin has said after today he will contact Leo Varadkar to tell him Fine Gael need to engage in government formation talks - despite Mr Varadkar saying his party is 'preparing to go into opposition'.

He argued: "I'm not so sure any party has a pathway to opposition, if I'm honest, given the numbers.

"All parties should put forward ideas and policies."

She said: "[Voters] have given a very clear mandate for change.

"I suppose today the people who have been elected here have a choice to make: they have to choose between... a government for change and politics for change, or they can opt for the status quo."

Main image: Seán Ó Fearghail. Picture by: Brian Lawless/PA Archive/PA Images

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