No 10-week summer recess as TDs to work throughout July to make up for lost time

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TDs are likely to work through July and return to the Oireachtas in early September to make up for lost government time.

Political representatives usually avail of a 10-week summer recess, however this is to be cut short to four weeks in order to ensure government work does not fall further behind.

Covid-19, as well as an extended government formation period has left the Oireachtas behind schedule, and social distancing guidelines are likely to slow down work throughout the year.

A document supplied to the Dáil Business Committee last week noted that some committees may not be up and running until December.

The Dáil Business Committee met last week to decide on the provisional schedule.

The Dáil will sit for three days this week, and for the last three weeks of July will sit for four days, Tuesday to Friday.

It was suggested at the meeting that recess would be taken in August and return the first Tuesday in September.

It is understood there were no objections to the proposal, which was initially suggested by the Clerk of the Dáil.

“Everybody accepts that the historical recess cannot happen as we’ve lost so much time,” one Business Committee member said.

“Sinn Féin suggested three weeks, as opposed to the normal 10, but there was no argument about it.

“It’s a significant change, it needs to be, with the Covid impact and then government formation delay that’s what’s been muted at this stage and likely to agreed in order to get things going again.”

The committee is to meet again on Thursday to discuss proportional speaking time, for which changes need to be made as the current roster reflects the last Dáil makeup.

Once agreed they will be put to the Dáil to amend standing orders allowing for the changes to be made.

The idea of the Dáil cutting short its summer holidays was first floated by then-Taoiseach, now Tanaiste Leo Varadkar in May, after he became concerned about the amount of time being lost, but noted that representatives would also need a break.



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