Agriculture committee matters ‘delayed’ due to Dáil restrictions

The proposal to restrict the sitting of the Dáil to just one or two days a week is “not good enough, particularly given the scenario we find ourselves in”, according to independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.

“We are in the middle of a pandemic and yet, as a parliament, we are supposed to meet just once a week for six hours for all of January?

“While everyone appreciates Covid-19 numbers have been on the rise, we must be able to come to some other compromise in order for essential work to be carried out in the Dáil and the various committees,” the deputy said.

Agriculture committee matters

Fitzmaurice midlands
Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice

Deputy Fitzmaurice continued:

“The work carried out in committees is ferociously important. As a member of the Agriculture Committee, there are several issues which require attention, including the crisis in the forestry sector; bovine TB; regulations surrounding animal remedies; and issues around fisheries to name a few.

While private meetings can take place virtually; insufficient progress can be made this way.

“As it stands, we are nearly like someone shouting down from a mountain to another person in a valley. With restricted Dáil sittings, we have limited access to government ministers to highlight our constituents’ concerns.

Accountability

The Roscommon-Galway TD said that the lack of Dáil sittings would mean that TDs’ ability to hold ministers and the government to account would be “greatly diminished”.

“I am calling on the Business Committee to review [its] decision on Thursday January 14 regarding in-person meetings.

“Alternative solutions must be found to allow essential business to continue while still being mindful of Covid-19,” Fitzmaurice concluded.