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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Reduced Seanad sittings is the governments fault not the Senators

In reponse to this article Seanad sittings down 10% since referendum - RTÉ News and the other malicious, lazy and contextless reporting on reduced Seanad sittings, that don't question the governments power to determine the schedule. Counting sitting hours would be fairer but I suspect it would still be significantly down. Catherine Noone says they sat late recently, as ever the last minute rush of legislation before the summer, never a good thing.

See also my other blog post with the attendance of Senators for 2013 and 2014 (so far) visualised.
Senators Oireachtas Attendance 2014 January to May
Senators Oireachtas attendance 2013

Seanad Calendar 2013-2014
Seanad calendar winter to summer 2012-2013 and winter summer 2013-2014 for comparison.



The Seanad sat less days because the government didn't have legislation for the senators to debate, this is their primary job and in our system the government produces legislation.

Government has yet to publish any of the 42 Bills it has promised for first half of the year
Irish Times March 20 2014

New system
A spokesman for Mr Kehoe said the hiatus was partly due to a new system for bringing legislation through the Dáil. It is designed to achieve a “better flow” of legislation through both Houses of the Oireachtas and minimise the number of debates on legislation where the Government applies a guillotine (effectively curtails debate).
He added that a small number of Bills had been approved by Cabinet but their publication had been held back until next week.

Even the Ceann Comhairle isn't told what's happening.
Barrett kept in the dark on new Dail reforms as relations worsen


Reduced weeks of sittings days

8th - 10th October
Order of Business: 8 Oct 2013: Seanad debates (KildareStreet.com)
Before we commence, I wish to notify Members that the reason for the two-day sitting this week is that it was, naturally, very difficult to predict how this week would work out.
The Seanad sat for just two days this week TheJournal.ie October 10th 2013

Governments fault for having a referendum on Seanad abolition.

19th - 21st November
The Seanad sat for just two days this week… again

However, Bruton’s trade mission to India means discussion on the report and final stages of the mammoth Companies Bill has been moved to next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Fitzgerald is due in the Dáil to oversee the passage of the Child and Family Agency Bill, meaning she cannot provide what’s officially titled as ‘An Update on Youth Justice Policy’. This has been deferred to an unspecified later date

Governments fault.

4th - 6th and 11th - 13th February

John Whelan: “The Seanad cannot put in place even three sitting days as normal this week as there is no legislation forthcoming from the Dáil or any Ministers available to take debates on policy, pending legislation or important public consultations.”

Two day sitting - Thejournal.ie

Order of Business: 4 Feb 2014: Seanad debates (KildareStreet.com)
Maurice Cummins: Senators Cullinane and Kelly raised the sittings of the House. I said last week during the debate on Seanad reform that Departments will have to address the situation where we have little or no legislation at the beginning of a term and a rush of legislation towards the end of a term. These peaks and troughs have existed for as long as I have been a Member of the House but they need to be addressed. On many occasions, we hear that the Government is responsible and accountable to Dáil Éireann and I cannot demand that Ministers come to the House for statements on any item within their remit. Some Ministers are co-operative but others, for many reasons, have been unable to give the time Members expect.


Governments fault.

25th - 27th March

Government has yet to publish any of the 42 Bills it has promised for first half of the year
Irish times March 20 2014
New system
A spokesman for Mr Kehoe said the hiatus was partly due to a new system for bringing legislation through the Dáil. It is designed to achieve a “better flow” of legislation through both Houses of the Oireachtas and minimise the number of debates on legislation where the Government applies a guillotine (effectively curtails debate).

He added that a small number of Bills had been approved by Cabinet but their publication had been held back until next week.

Governments fault.


Bills started by government cumulatively by day in 2014 and 2010 for comparison. Data


June


Seanad Calendar Attendance Heatmap 2014 Click to embiggen and interact. This tells me around 70% of Seantors were in the days that sittings were cancelled, anyway.


Red:Non-Sitting Days(includes committees)/Blue:Sitting days.
Seanad Dates Data
Can't show useful percentage sittings for full 2013 year as only up to 120 sittings and non-sittings days are recorded.

http://www.kildarestreet.com
Gooole Heatmap Calendar

Senators Oireachtas Attendance 2014 January to May
Senators Oireachtas attendance 2013

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