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Dáil Reform

'A ludicrous situation': Dozens of questions go unanswered in the Dáil because of absent TDs

And this is Dáil reform apparently…

Hugh O'Connell / YouTube

OVER TWO DOZEN questions to the Jobs Minister Richard Bruton went unanswered in the Dáil this afternoon because the TDs who asked them weren’t present in the chamber.

The Dáil’s Leas Ceann Comhairle, Michael Kitt, read through the list of 27 questions and the absent TDs for some three minutes, before getting to a question asked by the Sinn Féin jobs spokesperson Peadar Tóibín, who was present and slammed the situation.

Tóibín criticised the “ludicrous situation that has become minister’s questions” whereby the opposition has seen a reduction in the number of questions it can ask and government TDs have been given more opportunities to ask questions but “don’t even bother turning up”.

But of the 15 TDs who asked questions – but weren’t present – only four were on the government side – all Fine Gael – with five Fianna Fáil, and six independents.

Hugh O'Connell / YouTube

Junior Minister John Perry hit back from across the floor, saying that it was mainly opposition deputies who had failed to show up for their questions this afternoon.

Under Dáil reforms introduced last year, TDs must be present in the chamber in order for their question to be answered. They will now be answered in written form with no opportunity for debate.

Earlier, Fianna Fáil’s jobs spokesperson Dara Calleary noted that he and Tóibín were back and forth between a meeting of the Oireachtas Jobs Committee which is questioning bank executives on SME lending today.

The full list of TDs who were absent and could therefore not pose a total of  27 questions this afternoon is as follows:

  1. Éamon Ó Cuív (Fianna Fáil) 
  2. Maureen OSullivan (Independent) 
  3. Seán Fleming (Fianna Fáil) 
  4. Tommy Broughan (Independent) 
  5. Mick Wallace (Independent)*
  6. Clare Daly (Independent) 
  7. Patrick O’Donovan (Fine Gael)
  8. Dara Calleary (Fianna Fáil)
  9. Seán Kyne (Fine Gael)* 
  10. Michael McGrath (Fianna Fáil) 
  11. Pat Dearing (Fine Gael) 
  12. Bernard Durkan (Fine Gael) 
  13. Charlie McConalogue (Fianna Fáil)
  14. Catherine Murphy (Independent)
  15. Richard Boyd-Barrett (People Before Profit)

* Note: The offices of Deputies Wallace and Kyne have been in touch with to say that both TDs were attending the Jobs Committee today at the time of their questions.

Previously: Absent TDs and unanswered questions leave Micheál Martin criticising Dáil reforms

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