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Two TDs say they will break Dáil rules and refuse to stand during the daily prayer

It’s proposed a 30-second moment of silence will take place after the daily prayer.

TWO TDS HAVE said they will break Dáil rules by refusing to stand during the prayer which is read by the Ceann Comhairle at the beginning of each day.

A motion to include a 30-second moment of silence after the daily prayer, as well as making TDs stand up is to be debated this evening. In addition, another rule change relating to the minimum number of TDs required in the chamber before a Dáil sitting can proceed is to be amended.

While it had been customary for everyone in the chamber to stand during the prayer, it was never included in Standing Orders (Dáil rules).

Standing during the Dáil prayer 

Before TDs take their seats each day, the Ceann Comhairle reads the following prayer:

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Solidarity-PBP’s Bríd Smith stated that she and Ruth Coppinger would not be standing during prayers if the motion is passed.

“I wouldn’t mind if we had to stand and say nothing, but standing and praying –  I am definitely not having that, we’ll have to break the rules, I think.”

Coppinger said a Catholic prayer has no place in a modern-day parliament.

“We have to separate State and Church,” she said.

With the new rule changes, Coppinger said a Ceann Comhairle “of a particular persuasion” who might be particularly religious could sanction a TD for not standing during the prayer.

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‘Ludicrous’

“It is ludicrous,” she said, adding: “I think now we just have to say this has to end. I defend anyone’s right to practice religion, but it should be a private mater, it shouldn’t be in  the Dáil chamber.”

During her time as a councillor on Dublin City Council for several years, Smith said she campaigned for the prayer to be scrapped from council meetings. Now the council has a moment of silence, she said.

“If you wanted to you can pray away to yourself or you can poke your nails or you can be reading what is in front you, the current agenda, or you can be having snooze, or whatever – but you don’t have to be compelled to say a Catholic prayer or to listen to one and that is what is going on at the moment.

“I am completely opposed to it,” she said.

Another rule change, whereby only 10 TDs will be required to be present for the Dáil to begin, was passed today – without debate.

The motion, proposed by Fine Gael Chief Whip Regina Doherty, reduces the quorum necessary to constitute a meeting of the Dáil from twenty to 10 members.

Read: ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of special Dáil committee are anti-choice’ – Smith>

Read: Here are the things that must happen before and after a united Ireland becomes a reality>

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