The current system of Friday Dáil sittings once a month is more about optics than real political reform, according to Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Niall Collins.
Speaking in the Dáil this morning Deputy Collins said the Friday sittings in their current form are ‘a sham’, aimed solely at giving the impression that the Fine Gael/Labour Government is committed to Dáil reform.
Deputy Collins commented, “This has very little to do with real political reform. Friday sittings do not include Leader’s Questions, Order of Business, questions to Ministers, Topical Issues, Committee sittings, Seanad sittings or votes. Today, there was only one senior Minister present, and as we discovered a Point of Order could only be raised with great difficulty.
“Today’s sitting lasted 3 hours and cost the taxpayer €90,000. The cost of Friday sittings was confirmed at the Public Accounts Committee yesterday. This is a costly PR exercise for the Fine Gael/Labour Government, at the taxpayers’ expense.
“If we are to have Friday sittings, let’s have a real sitting of the Dáil. I would welcome more time to question the Taoiseach and his Cabinet on pressing matters and raise issues of importance that require Government attention. The people want to see real reform, not expensive public relations exercises.”