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Dublin: 6 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019
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Healy-Rae talks up candidate's mass-going record as TDs attempt to elect deputy chairman

Four TDs put their name forward for the job of Leas Cheann-Comhairle.

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THE DÁIL HAS failed to elect a Leas Cheann-Comhairle.

After two hours of nominations and pitches, none of the four candidates succeeded in winning over the majority of the House.

There were four nominees for the job today: Sinn Féin’s Seán Crowe; independent TD Mattie McGrath; Fianna Fáil’s Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher; and Fine Gael’s Bernard Durkan.

Crowe was the first to be ruled out, losing the vote by 33 to 106.

He was followed by McGrath who lost by 20 to 117 votes.

Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher then lost by 52 votes to 83.

Bernard Durkan’s results were 49 Yes votes and 89 No votes.

The Leas-Cheann Comhairle is the Deputy Chairman of Dáil Éireann. The successful candidate will assist the Ceann Comhairle, Fianna Fáil’s Sean Ó Fearghail in controlling the everyday activities of the chamber.

There were some interesting pitches made in the Dáil during nominations.

Michael Healy-Rae said Mattie McGrath was the man for the job, citing his Irish dancing medals and mass attendance.

Deputy Mattie McGrath is a man of deep faith and was never shy about showing that and standing up for what he believed in.
He is a man of conviction, and I always admired him for that.
The proof is that he managed to get me going to mass at 6 o’clock on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Not many would have believed I would do this but the Deputy roped me in.
Others have talked about excellent singers. The last thing I would say about Deputy McGrath is that he possesses all-Ireland medals for dancing. While others can sing, our deputy can dance.

Recently, there was some controversy over the delay in holding today’s vote.

It appeared the government missed the deadline and failed to submit a nomination for the vacant position.

Two weeks ago, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams asked for an explanation.

“In the new dispensation that has been heralded by the converts in the new government, we are being told we cannot have the election for Leas-Cheann Comhairle when it was designated to be held.”

Mattie McGrath said it was a “very serious” matter.

There was a deadline and it has passed. I cannot see why the government should think it can change the rules as the game goes on. One cannot. It is not proper. It is not right behaviour. It is a bad start for the Government if it thinks it can twist a deadline to suit some other issue it has. It is wrong.

This week hasn’t been easy for the government, with some saying, this is what ‘new politics’ looks like.

Last night, the government lost its first vote in the Dáil.

The Fine Gael/independent minority government lost after putting forward a counter-motion to a Labour Party motion on workers’ rights.

This was defeated by 58 votes in favour to 78 against.

The Labour motion calling for increased workers’ rights including a significant increase in the minimum wage, a living wage of €11.50 to be adopted in the public sector and for increased protections was carried.

After its earlier defeat, the government did not challenge it.

Yesterday, the government also faced harsh criticism from the opposition benches for a lack of movement on the proposed citizens’ assembly to discuss Eighth Amendment.

Another headache this week came along in the form of the European Commission which has had plenty to say on Ireland’s water charges – and whether they can be scrapped.

What will next week bring? Who knows? There certainly is a lot of uncertainty along the halls of Leinster House right now.

Read: No tender issued yet to seek company to set up Citizens’ Assembly on Eighth Amendment>

Read: DEFEAT: The government has lost its first vote in the Dáil

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