Sinn Féin Chief Whip Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has written to the Ceann Comhairle and the Dáil Business Committee requesting a meeting to examine the voting options that would allow all Dáil business to return to Leinster House.
It is estimated that the cost of holding sittings of the Dáil and Seanad in the Convention Centre will be in excess of €300,000 by next week if an alternative is not found.
Teachta Mac Lochlainn said: “Over recent weeks, the Dáil Business Committee has sought to examine the options available to the Houses of the Oireachtas for returning all of our Dáil sittings back to the Dáil chamber, and away from the Convention Centre. This is not in the least motivated by the growing and substantial cost to the exchequer.
“There are two key challenges in doing so; complying with public health requirements during this pandemic crisis, facilitating votes and voteable business.
“I have written to the Ceann Comhairle and the Dáil Business Committee requesting that a meeting be convened as soon as possible to examine further the voting options that would allow all Dáil business to be carried out in the Dáil chamber in Leinster House.
“Those options could include:
- The maximum use of the reduced proportionate voting formula that has facilitated some Dáil votes to date during this crisis.
- Arranging the Dáil schedule to ensure all votes and voteable business are held on Thursdays.
- Examining the health and safety possibilities for two voting queues leading to the Dáil chamber in line with recommended separation distances and to agree a voting system as time efficient as possible
“I am hopeful that all of our political groupings in the Dáil can now agree to the necessary compromises in the public interest.”