FIANNA FÁIL TD Billy Kelleher has criticised the government for its implementation of Friday sittings in the Dáil saying that the once-a-month sitting is “a meaningless, pointless episode”.
Under reforms introduced by the government last summer, the Dáil sits on the first Friday of every month to debate bills put forward by backbench and opposition TDs – known as Private Members’ Bills – but Cork North Central TD Kelleher has said that “no meaningful business is being done”.
Today the Dáil will debate a bill put forward by independent TD Stephen Donnelly but there will be no vote held on the proposed legislation until next week when it is likely to be defeated by the government.
“This is primarily a government window-dressing exercise,” Kelleher said on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland. “It really is a meaningless, pointless episode in retaining the Dáil open of a Friday. It costs about €100,000 when no meaningful business is being done.”
The Irish Independent today reports that a fifth of coalition government TDs will hold constituency clinics instead of attending Leinster House for the only sitting of the Dáil this month today.
It quotes a number of opposition TDs who have expressed frustration with the sittings.
“It is optics and is basically putting a slap in the face of Dáil reforms,” Kelleher added. “Clearly if they want to have a proper Dáil sitting day, why aren’t the government there today?”
Kelleher, who said he intends to be in Leinster House today, added that “it is just another broken promise from this government.”