Dáil to sit for longer hours as part of reform
on 12/09/2013 13:42:30
Most of the reforms go ahead from now, but some - like giving opposition parties more power on committees - will only proceed if the Seanad is scrapped in the referendum.
Among the changes are sitting earlier in the day, and longer blocks for dealing with legislation, but the use of the guillotine will still remain at the discretion of the Government.
One of the proposed changes will be an annual "Queen's speech"-type event by the Taoiseach and Ministers.
"A statement from both myself and the Tánaiste in respect of the challenges that government see up ahead," Enda Kenny said.
"What we want to do is have the government set out in the Dáil and a debate on it on the trends, the opportunities, the challenges and the difficulties that government see."
If the Seanad is abolished, there will also be a major change to how legislation is passed with the public to be given a say.
Fianna Fáil have branded the plans "bogus" and "tokenistic".
"What has been published by the Government today, while in some respects welcome, is very inadequate, … and doesn't in fact, represent meaningful reform," the party's Whip, Sean O'Fearghail, said.
Mr Kenny, however, defended the proposed changes.
"What we want here is an open and transparent public engagement - we can't say that this is going to work perfectly.
"But it is a genuine attempt to engage civic society that's never been available to them before."