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Saturday 10 December 2016

TDs get a fright as 111 vote no to the Halloween break

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin

TDS have voted to cancel their mid-term break, despite party representatives previously agreeing to take next week off.

In an unusual move, Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein combined to stop the holidays, meaning deputies must show up for work in Leinster House on Wednesday and Thursday.

In total, 111 TDs voted for the House to sit next week, while just nine voted against the move.

It followed a row between Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and the Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty.

Mr Martin said the original decision to have a Halloween break sent out "the wrong signal completely".

Schedule

"The Dail rose on the July 21 and came back on September 22. In July, we were all told there was major works to be undertaken to the physical refurbishment of the House and that didn't happen at all," he said.

"So it transpired there was no necessity for the longer than usual summer recess."

However, Ms Doherty said that she had never wanted to schedule a week off but was forced to by a majority of the Dail's Business Committee.

"Everybody on the Business Committee is aware that when I proposed the schedule for the session between September and December we were sitting next week. I was overruled at the Business Committee by practically every other member," she said.

Ms Doherty said she didn't agree with a break because of "a fairly large legislative programme" between now and Christmas.

"Rather than actually diminish the Dail sitting time by two-and-a-half days I added them on to Christmas week so now unfortunately everybody in the House will be sitting Christmas week as opposed to next week," she said.

After the vote, Ms Doherty said she found herself in the "strange position" of getting what she had wanted all along.

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