Thursday, 1 April 2021
Gnó na Dála - Business of Dáil
Richard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
First, there were nine ten-minute slots between the slot of the final Deputy to speak last night and our slot. There was, therefore, no reasonable expectation that we would speak before today but for the fact that multiple speakers in the intervening slots, including Government speakers, were not here. Our office and Whip team were monitoring what was going on in here but unlike in Dáil Éireann, the camera feed from the convention centre does not allow our Whip team to see who is in the House. It is impossible, therefore, if one is adhering to the instruction to work from home as much as possible, as our team is, to know who is physically in the House and whether our slots might come up sooner because speakers did not turn up.
It is also the case that the Chair, Leas-Cheann Comhairle and others will sometimes actually say, given that there is no camera to monitor these things, that the proceedings are moving faster because speakers are not here and therefore give a warning to our teams, who cannot possibly know that Deputies are not here. Our team was watching but was absolutely powerless to know what was happening in the House.