Dáil row over ‘offensive’ recital of Lord’s Prayer

Clare Daly: Recital has "no place in modern Ireland".

A row has erupted between TDs over the recital of a prayer at the start of each Dáil sitting, which Independent TD Clare Daly has described as "offensive".

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath has taken issue with Ms Daly’s comments, saying that any attempts to remove the Lord’s Prayer from the Dáil’s daily schedule will be “strongly resisted”.

During a Dáil debate on new blasphemy laws, Ms Daly said the Catholic recital each day “does not have a place in modern Ireland” and that legislators should keep Church and State separate.

However, fellow Independent Mr McGrath dismissed her remarks as “ill- judged” and “baseless”.

He said: “The idea that prayer has no place in a modern parliamentary system is quite frankly absurd.”

The prayer is said in Irish and English at the start of Dáil proceedings by Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett, and calls on TDs to be inspired and assisted by Christ and that “every word and work of ours may always begin from Thee, and by Thee be happily ended; through Christ our Lord. Amen”.

It was introduced in the Dáil in 1932 and has been a frequent source of controversy since the start of the current Dáil in 2011.

Following the publication of the Cloyne Report into clerical child abuse three years ago, Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin called for the prayer to be scrapped, complaining that some TDs were uncomfortable about having to stand for its recital.

“If we are serious about breaking the link between Church and State, we should not start proceedings in this house every day with a prayer,” he said at the time.

The Oireachtas Committee on Procedures and Privileges has deliberated on the matter and decided it would remain in place.

The only way it can change now is if the committee reconsiders its decision, or someone puts forward a motion to be voted on in the house.


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