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Here's exactly what our politicians and civil servants were up to last year

Hitting the gym, Oireachtas Committee meetings and learning languages were all on the agenda.

12/12/2013 Labour Party Minister for Social Protec Source: Photocall Ireland

IN 2014, THE Houses of the Oireachtas had the second highest number of sitting hours in 2014 compared to ten parliaments around the world.

The Houses of the Oireachtas Commission report finds that Ireland has the third highest number of parliamentary questions tabled annually across 12 parliaments and the highest number of parliamentary questions per member.

sittings Source: Houses of the Oireachtas report

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What else have they been up to?

Here are the stats for the Houses, Committees and the Service during 2014: 

  • 124 Dáil sittings (977 sitting hours)
  • 103 Seanad sittings (594 sitting hours)
  • 576 Committee meetings, involving some 1,707 speaking witnesses (1,112 sitting hours)
  • 118 new Bills published;
  • 44 Bills passed by the Houses
  • 54,691 Parliamentary Questions tabled
  • 52 Committee Reports laid before both Houses
  • 2,300 responses by the Library and Research Service to requests for information and research
  • 41 Public Petitions presented to the Houses.

parl Source: Houses of the Oireachtas report

The overall expenditure in 2014 was €102.6 million which represents an underspend of €6 million, finds the report.

The public are interested in seeing what goes on there,with the Irish parliament having the third highest number of visitors to parliament as a percentage of population out of 13 parliaments surveyed.

What about staffing levels? 

At the end of the year there were 401 civil service staff employed, which is an increase of 6% on the previous year.

This was mainly attributable to the recruitment of staff for the Banking Inquiry.

There are also non-established civil service staff comprising of five civilian drivers and seven staff of Office Holders.

A further 45 staff were employed in the Catering Services and in the Print Facility.

To support the Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis, 48 temporary posts were sanctioned of which 24 posts were filled by the end of the year by civil servants and specialist staff.

Dublin West Bye Elections Campaigns Minister for Health Leo Varadkar Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

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Other than debates, Bills and legislation, what have they been up to?

Staff at the Houses of the Oireachtas have been getting fit and learning languages.

In 2014, there were 4,432 individual visits to the fitness room.

A request for tender for the provision of gym instructor services in the Oireachtas Fitness Room was published in December 2014 and a new contract will be in place in 2015.

Language training in Irish and French is also provided at three levels.

The courses are held weekly, for one hour, and are attended by members, political personnel and civil service staff.

Source: pauchishko/YouTube

There were 204 hours of language classes delivered in 2014.

You can read the full report compiled Houses of the Oireachtas Commission here

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