THE GOVERNMENT PARTIES will be left to decide which of two opposition TDs will be made Chairman of the Dáil’s influential Public Accounts Committee, when the committee meets for the first time today.
Parliamentary tradition usually allows the largest opposition party to hold the position, with Fianna Fáil set to nominate Kilkenny-based TD John McGuinness as chairman.
Some members of the Dáil’s technical grouping – made up of smaller parties and independents – oppose giving Fianna Fáil the position, though, and are backing Shane Ross as an alternative candidate.
If Ross’s nomination is backed by Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald, he and McGuinness will be tied two votes each – leaving the balance of power with the six Fine Gael TDs and three Labour TDs who complete the committee.
It is believed that, as of last night, no decision had been made by the government parties on which of the opposition candidates to support.
Ross is a longtime independent senator and former Fine Gael councillor, while McGuinness is better known for his vocal opposition to Brian Cowen’s performance as taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fáil.
The committee’s inaugural meeting begins at 3pm, and will also appoint a vice-chairman – a position usually taken by the government side.
Proceedings can be watched live on the Oireachtas website.
Who should be made Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee?