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Dáil to bring in 30-second moment of reflection after the daily prayer

The Dáil prayer will continue to be read in English and Irish.
Mar 30th 2017, 10:17 AM 8,333 61

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THE DÁIL IS bringing in a 30-second moment of reflection after the daily prayer.

The Oireachtas Committee on Procedures and Privileges decided yesterday that the Dáil prayer, which is said at the beginning of business each day, should continue to be said in English and Irish.

An additional moment of silence will then follow.

Before TDs take their seats each day, the Ceann Comhairle is tasked with reading the prayer to the chamber.

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There have been many debates about whether it is appropriate in a modern parliament, with many suggesting that it should be scrapped.

A number of politicians, and a government minister, have long campaigned for moment’s silence, stating that it would be more appropriate.

Moment of silence 

In January, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone told TheJournal.ie a moment silence would be “much fairer than spoken prayer”.

She said this reflection would be open to politicians of all faiths, and those of none.

“In the interest of equality I fully support a moment of silence where every deputy can reflect, pray or be still ahead of their work on behalf of the people of Ireland,” she said.

In 2012, a 30-second period of reflection was included in the Seanad before the prayer.

When asked about the development last night, the minister said:

In a time of huge challenge at home, in Europe and worldwide it is important all politicians can reflect on the actions they take on behalf of the Irish people.
A moment of silence at the start of proceedings provides that opportunity and brings the chamber closer to the diverse, equal and fair Ireland which it is elected to represent.
I welcome this positive step but I am conscious there is still work to do to ensure the Oireachtas is inclusive of all our people, including those of all beliefs and those of none.

According to a Claire Byrne Live/Amárach Research poll from earlier this year, 42% of people said each Dáil session should not begin with a prayer, while 42% said it should.

A total of 16% said they don’t know.

Ireland is not the only parliament to begin each day with a Christian prayer. Australia, Canada, South Africa, the UK and the US have similar procedures to ours.

The Dáil prayer: We’re not the only parliament to have one>

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Christina Finn

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