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Tuesday 30 May 2023 Dublin: 17°C
# State of the Nation
Why are Dáil suspensions happening so often?
Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about…

The Dáil was suspended twice in quick succession yesterday, following a row over comments made by the Taoiseach.

paul 13 may

When Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy asked Enda Kenny how many people have failed to pay water charges so far, Kenny told him to “toddle along” to a briefing with Irish Water later that day.

For the record, he did – and didn’t get an answer there either.

During a robust debate Murphy’s colleague Ruth Coppinger asked Kenny what the point of Leaders’ Questions, to which he replied: “To tell you where to go”. The House was suspended twice after independent TD Róisín Shortall, former junior health minister, called on Kenny to withdraw the mark.

A third suspension looked to be a possibility when Micheál Martin clashed with Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett during Order of Business.

The Fianna Fáil leader was unhappy Dáil business was to be suspended for several hours that day, stating:

The Ceann Comhairle is putting me in a very difficult position. I do not want to be having a row with the Chair …
After the May bank holiday weekend, we had business for one and a half days in that week. There seems to be a pattern emerging in the past while of inactivity and a lack of legislation in the House.

Martin accused the government of “shutting down the Dáil for its political and electoral reasons”.


Fine Gael TDs hit back, accusing Fianna Fáil of not being present when certain legislation was debated in the house.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams noted: “Whatever about Fianna Fáil’s slightly abstentionist approach to this issue, there are deep underlying problems in getting a legislative programme through the House and having Opposition Deputies dealt with in accordance with their mandates and the respect due to everyone in the Chamber.”

There have been a number of suspensions of the House in recent months. With tensions mounting as a general election draws ever closer, will they become an even more frequent event?

The agenda

  • Health minister Leo Varadkar and HSE chief Tony O’Brien will meet the health committee at 9.30am.
  • The banking inquiry will continue today, with Dr Laurence Crowley and Richard Burrows, former governors of Bank of Ireland, appearing at 9.30am.
  • Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton will launch SURE, a tax refund scheme aimed at encouraging people to start their own businesses, at Government Buildings at 9.30am.
  • Representatives from KPMG will answer the banking committee’s questions at 2.30pm.
  • Officials from the Department of Finance will appear before the Public Accounts Committee at 10am to discuss the controversial Siteserv sale.
  • Tánaiste Joan Burton will answer Leaders’ Questions at noon.

What the others are saying

  • The government is set to increase pressure on banks to reduce their standard and variable mortgage rates, according to the Irish Times.
  • The same paper reports that Hiqa chief Phelim Quinn has said political support is needed if changes are to take place at Portlaoise Hospital.
  • The Deaprtment of Finance has warned that raising the minimum wage could risk jobs, notes the Irish Independent.
  • The Irish Examiner reports that the Public Accounts Committee is to appeal a High Court order calling for it to disclose certain documents to former Rehab CEO Angela Kerins.

Inside Leinster House

A Fine Gael TD is refusing to remove his Yes Equality pin in Leinster House, in breach of rules.

In case you missed it

  • The opposition cautiously welcomed the government’s plans to help mortgage holders in arrears but said they won’t have the banks “quaking in their boots“.
  • David Norris made an impromptu appeal for a Yes vote in next week’s same-sex marriage referendum, after politicians who are voting No raised questions about billionaire philanthropist Chuck Fenney funding groups such as Marriage Equality.
  • The Dáil was suspended twice after a row erupted between the Taoiseach and opposition TDs.
  • Labour said its posters for the same-sex marriage referendum are not in breach of the law.
  • Gerry Adams got a very warm response from the public while out canvassing.
  • A Renua Ireland candidate’s poster was defaced with anti-gay slurs.

On the Twitter machine

There was a new arrival in the Crown household. Congrats!

Originally published: 9am

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