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…

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  • mickfealty

    No one in the CC’s chair the whole matter is being conducted by the Clerk. In the process of reading out all the names of those election. He may be some time. 😉

  • mickfealty

    Clerk now pointing out that Sean Barrett, outgoing CC, comes back in without election (a big bonus to taking a tough and contentious post)… Candidates now speaking. FG TD Andrew Doyle up first.

    The core of his pitch is his commitment to Dail reform and empowering committees and outlines his antipathy to guillotines foreshortening legislation and giving more speaking time to smaller parties and groups.

    Talking about about separating plenary and committee times (Scotland does committees in the mornings and plenary sessions in the afternoons)… “Let this be the first day we see real Dail reform… jury is still out on how history sees how we do from here on…”

    And, applause from around the house…

  • mickfealty

    “More a protagonist than a moderator…” says Bernard Durkan, who is second up and second FG TD of himself to loud applause… “Hopefully I have learned a little bit…”

    On PQs he says they should have the same power as FOI requests… He notes importance of the broadcasting of parliament and the public’s access to how TDs conduct their business and says that that business should be conducted without rancour (which is a real problem for the Dail IMHO).

    Much less content than Doyle, but big applause at the end…

  • mickfealty

    Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD of SF up next and the first to open his address in Irish. Speaking mostly in the third person, points out he has 19 years in office over four Dail terms.

    He lays out his credentials as an active spokesmen in two technical groups and emphasises his connections with independents. “At all times I have demonstrated my independence.”

    Points out the potential as chair of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges for driving reform…

    Applause at the end from around the house…

  • mickfealty

    Number four is Seán Ó Fearghaíl of Fianna Fail, and he also begins with a lengthy and fluent introduction to his bid in Irish. He points out that every TD has a mandate of equal value, which comes with an equal responsibility to conduct themselves properly.

    At the heart of what we do must be a change in the relationship between the Dail and the executive, and the CC must be a servant of the members and not a slave to the system…”

    Vote of thanks to Sean Barrett outgoing CC… and to relatively slow applause…

  • mickfealty

    Maureen O’Sullivan the only independent candidate from the (external) Tony Gregory group/tradition points out that her constituency had the lowest turnout of any in the country.

    And that parliament “needs to be more accountable, more democratic and more efficient…” in order to re-engage with a disillusioned public.

    “I may voting myself out of a job” she also says clearly hoping that people will vote across the party lines (and herself) but also hinting – rather heavily – that she may not be actually voting for herself in the secret ballot..

    In her short piece in Irish she emphasises the need for collegiallity needed in the new Dail, “ni neart go chur le cheile…”. Anything is possible, and woman CC is certainly possible. We have a chance to do take a different route.

    Bells will ring for six minutes after which the secret ballot will take place.

  • mickfealty
  • mickfealty

    FG split their own vote. And FF man down. Betting must rise on an FG led coalition.

  • mickfealty

    Voted in unanimously…

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