Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice says the decision to restrict the sitting of the Dáil to just one day a week is “not good enough” given the rise of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.
Deputy Fitzmaurice said: “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 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 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.
“Our ability to hold ministers and the Government to account for their actions or decisions has been greatly diminished as a result of the recent restrictions.
“I am calling on the Business Committee to review their decision this Thursday (14th) regarding in-person meetings.
“Alternative solutions must be found to allow essential business to continue while still being mindful of Covid,” Deputy Fitzmaurice concluded.