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Solidarity-PBP TDs refuse to stand for Dáil prayer and hold up 'separate Church and State' posters

Last week the Dáil voted to retain the Dáil prayer and also to add a 30 second moment of reflection.

SOLIDARITY-PBP TDs refused to stand during the Dáil prayer this afternoon and held up signs with the words: “Separate Church and State”.

The Dáil’s new standing orders (which were voted on and approved last week) state that TDs must stand during the Dáil prayer.

A 30 second moment of silence was also held for the first time after the prayer was said today.

There was loud tutting in the Dáil chamber as the TDs flouted the new rules. During the 30 second of silence, both Mick Barry and Ruth Coppinger held up their posters.

Six TDs, including Independents 4 Change TD, Joan Collins, stayed in their seats during the prayer.

tds

Last week, Solidarity-PBP’s Bríd Smith and Ruth Coppinger said they would not be standing during prayers if the motion was 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,” said Smith.

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

download (12) Source: Ruth Coppinger

“We have to separate State and Church,” she said – exactly the terminology her group held up the the chamber today.

With the new rule changes, Coppinger queried last week if TDs who refused to stand would be punished.

She said a Ceann Comhairle “of a particular persuasion” who might be particularly religious could sanction a TD for not standing during the prayer.

There were no such sanctions against the TDs today – however, it could be an issue the Ceann Comhairle raises later with the Dáil’s committee on Privileges and Procedure.

“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,” said Coppinger last week.

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

Read: TDs have voted to make it compulsory to stand during the Dáil prayer>

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