Treating the Dail (and therefore the people) with disdain does not help govt’s #IrishWater case…

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Here’s a still from the live feed from the Dail yesterday just as Fianna Fail Environment spokesman Barry Cowen called for an adjournment of the Dail until the Minister returned from briefing the press to hear what the opposition might have to say…

[Decoded: the opposition sits to the right where the benches are full, and on government benches to the right there’s just three frontbenchers and the chief whip.]

If you want to get straight to the action, you can start here. After initial protests from the deputy chair, the chief whip reluctantly acceded to the Fianna Fail call for a forty five minute adjournment, after which the debate resumes.

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

  • Watched this yesterday, and it strikes me that the Speaker is just completely out of his depth. No-one cares what he says, and he doesn’t give the impression that he knows what he’s doing. That said, FF is grandstanding – when were ever so many back benchers all there for a debate? Not sure the system is set for politics of the mob to be played out in the chamber.

  • mickfealty

    There are some things the Dail could filch from Westminster. The Speaker should be elected by the chamber, not appointed by the Executive for a starter.

    Give him a gavel, and let him/her have the means call Order. The conversational banter only serves to undermine him further. All CCs (no matter how good or poor they are) suffer this indignity. A sergeant might also be handy, though its probably unnecessary if the internal authority problem of the chair were fixed.

    Adjournment was called because the Minister wasn’t there (not the generality of empty seats). The picture only serves to demonstrate the hollowness of the debate. The empty Govt benches merely demonstrate how faux the debate is, when the Minister is not there to hear the very first responses of the opposition…

  • Understand the reason for the adjournment. Think that was the point being made, that this was a bit of grandstanding and it makes for some attention – especially before SF could get in. FF stole a march on the optics, but not sure how this engenders respect for the democratic process – subject to commentary elsewhere.

  • Barneyt

    It seems right that they adjourn until the minister responds. The aggravation felt by Martin and Cowen is understandable.

  • Barneyt

    Cowen is battering on about determining the ability of the citizen to pay. Granted FG have introduced many painful measures (perhaps enforced), so its right that FF press them on their lack of consideration with respect to the water charge, however it was FF who introduced the USC. Did they take the same level of diligence prior to this? GooseGander scenario