Dublin convention centre may be used to vote for new Taoiseach

A motion could be tabled before the Dáil this week to facilitate a special meeting of the House in Dublin's convention centre in order to vote in a new Taoiseach on Saturday.
Dublin convention centre may be used to vote for new Taoiseach

A motion could be tabled before the Dáil this week to facilitate a special meeting of the House in Dublin's convention centre in order to vote in a new Taoiseach on Saturday.

However, all will be dependent on whether members of the three parties bidding to form the next coalition successfully approve a pact for the next government this Friday.

The issue of the special Dáil sitting, what notice will need to be given to its 160 TDs and other logistics around the proposed event will be discussed by the Dáil Business Committee tomorrow.

While IT, security, broadband, cameras, seating and supervision of the possible unorthodox sitting have mostly been arranged, a number of outstanding questions remain about the event.

Oireachtas sources have suggested that outgoing Taoiseach and the Fine Gael-led government may table a motion to facilitate the special convention centre sitting this week.

Currently, the order of business is scheduled to finish on Wednesday and resume the following Wednesday. Party officials believe the most likely scenario under standing orders is that the Taoiseach would request an emergency sitting of the Dáil if and when counting by the three parties -Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens - over the proposed government is completed this Friday.

But it remains unclear if there is a minimum notice period required for TDs to be in Dublin and for staff in Leinster House to ensure the building is fully ready for the historic vote.

Provisional plans suggest the Dáil would sit in the convention centre on Saturday and, after a vote for Taoiseach and a new government is formed, the new government leader would appoint 11 nominees to the Seanad, thereby allowing the Upper House to sit and for the passage of urgent laws for the special criminal court to proceed. That Seanad sitting would most likely take place net Monday and see the election of a Cathaoirleach to the Upper House.

Sources across parties say a number of decisions remain to be made and all will hang on the outcome of the party ballots.

“We are all in the dark, it could all fall apart,” added an informed Leinster House source.

It also remains unclear if the special Dail sitting would go ahead if the three-way proposed programme for government was rejected by one or more party, thereby preventing the coalition. It has been suggested this could be to facilitate an ad-hoc agreement to somehow pass laws with a temporary agreement on a new Seanad.

The matter is also expected to be raised by parties during the order of business when the Dail sits on Wednesday.

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