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Amid claims of drunkenness, the Seanad has voted to pass the Water Services Bill

Earlier, proceedings were suspended twice in less than an hour – after a row over claims that senators were coming from the Dáil bar to vote on the Bill last week.
Dec 22nd 2014, 11:00 PM 58,109 221

Updated at 6.30pm

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

THE CONTENTIOUS WATER Services Bill has been passed by the Seanad this evening, after a vote was called at 6pm.

Members voted by 28 to 25 to back the Bill. There was no change to that result after a walk-through vote.

The Seanad was adjourned shortly before 6.20pm, with the upper chamber not set to sit again until the afternoon of 20 January.

Earlier, the proceedings were suspended twice in less than an hour — after a row over claims that senators were coming from the Dáil bar to vote on the Bill last week.

A 16 hour sitting of the chamber ended at 3am last Saturday.

However, it was in session for barely a minute at midday today when David Norris’s attempts to raise matters on the Order of Business – which is not taking place today – prompted a row and 10-minute suspension.

Then, just before 12.45pm, a row erupted after Labour senator John Whelan claimed some senators were “inebriated by the exuberance of their own verbosity” during the lengthy debate last Friday night.

This prompted Fianna Fáil senator Terry Leyden to insist that “all spokespersons for Fianna Fáil were absolutely 100 per cent sober”.

Then Sinn Féin senator David Cullinane claimed that coalition senators were coming from the Dáil bar to vote, saying: ”There was a lot of senators coming from the Dáil bar into the chamber here late on Thursday night and if they want to have that debate we’ll have that debate with them.”

This prompted much shouting across the chamber and the suspension of the house for 15 minutes.

The passing of the Bill paves the way for the imposition of household charges by Irish Water.

It was announced last month that charges will be capped at €260 annually for a family of two or more adults, going down to €160 with the provision of a conservation payment from the Department of Social Protection.

First posted at 6.35pm. Additional reporting, Daragh Brophy.

Earlier: Senator says no one in Fianna Fáil told him he was expelled

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Hugh O'Connell

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