Taoiseach asks Ceann Comhairle to recall Dáil

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has asked the Ceann Comhairle to recall the Dáil early from its recess.

A government statement on Sunday (August 23) said: “The Taoiseach, Tánaiste [Leo Varadkar] and Minister Eamon Ryan [Green Party leader] have agreed that the Dáil should be recalled following the reopening of schools.

“The Taoiseach will make the request to the Ceann Comhairle on Monday,” the statement added.

The move follows calls from political and farming circles for the Dáil to be recalled, in response to the resignation of Dara Calleary as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, after he attended an Oireachtas Golf Society event last week, in breech of public health guidelines.

There is speculation that a new minister will be appointed when the Dáil meets again.

Also Read: Poll: Who should be the next Minister for Agriculture?

In the wake of Calleary’s resignation, the Taoiseach took over the agriculture portfolio himself which, at first, he would have held until the Dáil reconvened on the ‘original’ timeline later in September.

This state of affairs was viewed as unacceptable by some.

Independent Roscommon-Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice said after Calleary’s resignation: “Agriculture in Ireland accounts for €13 billion in exports, which means it’s a huge industry in the country and we need a minister appointed straight away.

We need a recall of the Dáil to ratify the appointment of a new minister because we cannot have limbo again for three weeks at least before the Dáil is to come back.

“We cannot have limbo with one of the biggest sectors in Ireland lacking a minister to run it.

“It’s actually a joke to think that a Taoiseach, who is caught up with the Covid-19 situation in its entirety, would even have time to be involved in the agricultural sector,” Fitzmaurice argued.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson Matt Carthy said: “This is a crucial period for Irish agriculture and fishing. Rural communities need focus and resolve in facing the challenges presented by Brexit, coronavirus and the long-standing inequalities in these sectors. Instead, they have got chaos and dysfunction.

We need an agriculture minister in place immediately. The suggestion that the Taoiseach can moonlight in that role when the Brexit talks recommence is nonsensical.

“The Dáil must be reconvened so that all ministers can be held accountable for their actions. Especially, we need an appointment of a new Minister for Agriculture,” Cathy added.