The Friday Feeling

14th March, 2011

It’s been a good start for the new Government, and the decision to cut senior Ministers’ pay at the first meeting of the cabinet was the right thing to do. It is vital we keep up the momentum.

When I was a Senator, I often found it embarrassing that the chamber sat on so few occasions. Except in cases of national emergency- to pass legislation on banks really – Friday sittings were as rare as a kind word from Joe Higgins.

Enda and the team have promised the Dail will sit on Fridays as part of a package of political reform measures. Much of the reform that is proposed will need to be planned carefully. In some cases, legislation and referenda will be needed. But one immediate step that can be taken is to get the Dail working more- and get it working on Fridays. I believe that this should happen quickly. Many of our new TDs have been elected to legislate – extra sitting days are essential to make this happen.

It will be relatively easy for the coalition to allow Friday sittings becuase of the fact that many of the Ministers in the new Government are from Dublin- 9 of the 15 by my count. The fact that the Government has such a big majority also means it won’t be essential for every Government TD to be present for votes on Fridays.

The people were sick of the old lot and the old ways. It’s time the Dail got that Friday feeling.