independent

Sunday 17 December 2017

Howlin and Wallace are Wexford's top talkers in Dail

By Esther Hayden

James Browne TD.
James Browne TD.
Brendan Howlin TD.
Michael D'Arcy TD.
Minister Paul Kehoe.
Mick Wallace TD.

Three of the five Wexford TD's made below average contributions in the Dail this year according to an analysis of Oireachtas speeches.

The figures show that Deputy Brendan Howlin was the most loquacious Wexford deputy in the Dail speaking a total of 250 times to date this year.

He was followed by Deputy Mick Wallace who spoke 167 times according to the figures.

The analysis is taken from KildareStreet.com, a searchable database of everything said in the Oireachtas. The average number of contributions for a TD is 85. Heckling or shouting in most cases is not recorded in the speaking count but if a TD interrupts another deputy to make a point in the Dáil that is counted in the number of times they have spoken in the chamber.

The remaining three Wexford TDs, Deputies Michael D'Arcy, James Browne and Paul Kehoe fell far short of the average number of contributions.

Deputy D'Arcy spoke 44 times, Deputy Browne 39 and Deputy Kehoe 32.

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath is the Dáil deputy who has most regularly contributed to debates this year, speaking 270 times to date.

Among the parties, Solidarity-People Before Profit TDs have spoken the most times on average. The parties account for just four per cent of the seats in the Dáil, but have made 7.5 per cent of the spoken contributions since the beginning of 2017.

Fianna Fáil is the only other party that accounts for a larger portion of speaking time than its seat tally. It has around 25 per cent of seats but made up 28 per cent of spoken contributions so far this year.

Fianna Fáil is looking to change the speaking arrangements in the Dáil to give the larger parties more speaking time. Currently, when the Dáil takes opening statements on a Bill or motion each party or technical group gets an equal amount of time to put forward their views on the issue.

All other speaking arrangements, including Leaders' Questions, private members' time, priority questions, and the introduction of motions are allocated proportionally according to the size of each party.

Fianna Fáil is seeking Fine Gael's support to make speaking time on opening statements also proportional to the size of each party. The rule changes are planned to come into effect when the Dáil comes back after the summer break.

However the smaller parties are opposed to the change.

Wexford People

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