LIVE: Opening of the Dail and the first ever fully independent Ceann Comhairle…

So today, the new Dail returns. Unlike its predecessors, it will start off business by electing it’s speaker or Ceann Comhairle (CC) firstly by secret PR STV ballot.

Given the low numbers granted to all parties and not it will be hard to game in the usual ways. The radical shift here is getting the CC elected by the parliament before the new government.

If you look back through history the party of the CC almost always matches the party in government. Notable exceptions were Labour party deputy Patrick Hogan from June 1951 to November 1967 and independent John O’Connell in 1982.

By definition today it cannot. Although the new CC’s first act is expected to be to set up a broad committee to look at political reforms it can undertake independently of government on foot of a motion by Fianna Fail.

You can follow the proceedings here, comments below…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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