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Dáil report. November 23, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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For my sins I’ve only been in the Dáil chamber to watch proceedings once, an unedifying spectacle it was too at the height of the Bertie Ahern years, bar Joe Higgins delivering some excellent points. And let’s just say he’s missed and not just by SPers. Anyhow be that as it may, I did smile at this from Miriam Lord talking about a Chinese delegation to the Dáil last week.

Its few short rows afford a sideways view down into the gladiatorial pit where Ireland’s sharpest political minds engage in rhetorical battle, their thrilling clashes regularly imbuing citizens with immeasurable pride in the democratic process.
That’s what the programme notes would say if TDs wrote them. The gallery, while hardly providing the best seats in the House, nonetheless allows its patrons an enchanting view.
If they look straight ahead, they can gaze all the way along the magnificence of the back line that is the press gallery, which is sometimes nearly almost fully occupied.
Those times during Leaders’ Questions, when the courtly ushers gently squeeze another delegation of overseas parliamentarians into the special space reserved for notables, it’s always entertaining to watch their expectant faces as they settle in for the Irish parliament’s daily white-knuckle ride.

Indeed.

Some of us remember when Dáil and Seanad proceedings would get, what, a page at least in the IT. These days… well. Times change I guess.

She notes that Dáil proceedings are dull. Well, perhaps that’s no bad thing. Still, a more important point to be made is that complaints that legislation is not being processed through the Dáil are gathering pace. And this isn’t a new phenomenon. Talking to a TD late last year they noted that legislation was being parsimoniously dealt out leaving the elected chamber remarkably little to do.

The suspicion is that the government is playing for time, keeping bit ticket issues out of sight or on the long finger as best as is possible.

For them a dull Dáil is extremely useful. Very very useful indeed.

Comments»

1. dublinstreams - November 23, 2016

I thought I remember the gov boasting about the numbers of bills passed in the last Dail? says its increasing in the Oireachtas Annual report http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/mediazone/pressreleases/2016/name-38720-en.html would have to check previous years/terms

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2. depps - November 23, 2016

My own experience of watching debates in the Oireachtas (Dáil, Seanad and various committees) is that, in general, you are lucky if 10-15% of the elected reps taking part actually have a decent grasp of what it is they are meant to be debating – when it comes to legislation the % that actually understand the ins and outs of the bill in question falls even further. Far too much time is given over to people simply standing up and reading a briefing note cobbled together by a staff member/intern that often misses the point of the legislation/issue being debated – people simply speak because it is their turn to do so even if they have nothing worthwhile to add. This criticism applies across the political spectrum although backbenchers from certain centre-right parties are certainly among the worst offenders and there are often honorable exceptions.

I know we can’t expect every legislator to be an expert, or even well briefed, on every topic but I think the standard of parliamentary discourse would improve dramatically if some kind of mechanism was put in place to stop the time wasters who just speak for the sake of it.

The whole experience of watching Oireachtas proceedings regularly shakes my faith in democracy

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dublinstreams - November 23, 2016

what about the committees

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depps - November 23, 2016

They sit down while reading their briefing notes

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Tomboktu - November 23, 2016

Touche

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3. dublinstreams - November 24, 2016

so you think they are reading for election just like there were late last year? what I think is needed part from all the other reforms ideas w’e heard before, is a work time card for the civil service/dept to see what they are working on at any one time and what are they not working on, to try and decipher the stock answer of “its being drafted” vs its being shelved.

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4. dublinstreams - November 30, 2016

Stephen Donnelly was praising the new (minority gov) Dail in the the Village Magazine for allowing him to press the issue of section 110s

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