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Opposition TDs stage walkout... over Gaeltacht

Opposition TDs stage walkout... over Gaeltacht

The Dáil was rising for the summer holidays, but that wasn’t the reason the opposition party TDs were leaving.


Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, and the technical group of Independent TDs formed a decidedly odd alliance when they staged a walkout from the Dáil.

It wasn’t because of the IMF’s proposals to cut welfare benefits.

It wasn’t because of the overrun in the health budget which could see frontline services affected.

It wasn’t because of the continued presence of James Reilly in the Dáil despite his being in breach of a High Court order.

Nor was it because of Mick Wallace’s continued presence despite the fact he is a self-declared tax cheat. No, it was because of the Gaeltacht Bill.

Legislation addressing the future of the Irish language might not seem so hot a topic as to provoke a mass walkout.

But the opposition parties did not agree with core aspects of the bill, and did not agree with the Government rushing it through before the summer recess.

Fianna Fáil’s Éamon Ó Cuív said the opposition had tabled more than 150 amendments to the bill but that the Government intended on guillotining the debate.

Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh said it was scandalous that only three hours in total were being given to discuss the 150 amendments.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins called for the debate to be pushed back to the autumn. As a result of the walkout, the bill was passed with no further debate.

Gaeltacht Affairs Minister Dinny McGinley said the walkout was a reflection on the opposition. “It is a great pity they walked out and I hope I will never again experience anything like it,” he said.

The Dáil returns on Sept 18.

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