MEMBERS OF THE opposition staged a mass walkout of the Dáil this afternoon over the government’s Gaeltacht Bill.
Opposition parties want the bill to be given more time to be considered by the Dáil but the government is attempting to push through the legislation before the chamber rises this evening until 18 September.
The legislation proposes to change the function and administration of Gaeltacht areas including the body which manages these areas Údarás na Gaeltachta to arrest the decline in the number of people who currently speak Irish in Gaeltacht areas.
Opposition parties are not only concerned about the lack of time being devoted to debating the bill but also that the administration of Gaeltacht areas will be carried out by people who do not have the best interests of the language at heart.
Politics.ie captured the moment of the walkout:
Undeterred, the Gaeltacht Minister Dinny McGinley stood up and delivered his speech final stages of the bill, remarking at the end that it was “a great pity” that the opposition benches walked out en masse.
“I hope I won’t ever experience anything like it again but I think it’s more a reflection on them than on us. We want to man the benches here, we fought hard to get in here, and we just want to occupy them when they are here,” he told the nearly deserted chamber.