Published on : Wednesday, September 16, 2020
In just a month, now it cost around €500,000 to hold Dáil and Seanad sittings in the Convention Centre. The fresh numbers were released under the Freedom of Information Act. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic when other sources were worst hit, this is one of the key ways to generate revenue and reboot the economic condition amidst crisis.
For social distancing reasons, several sittings of the Dáil and Seanad is now scheduled in the Convention Centre and the initial meeting was held on June 27, when TDs met to elect Micheál Martin as the Taoiseach. The Dáil continued sitting in the centre when all members need to be present to vote. The Seanad mostly sits in the Dáil Chamber in Leinster House however initially sat in the Convention Centre. The total cost of Dáil and Seanad sittings in the centre was €499,476 up to the summer recess at the end of July.
Rise TD Paul Murphy mentioned that few sittings in the facility are necessary. He also stated that in this new normal condition it is obvious that laid guidelines of NPHET will be difficult to be followed, and hence it is not possible to carry out voting like pre-pandemic season and also attend daily sessions in Leinster House.
It has been further stated that this is all the more difficult to fit all attendees within the small space as it lacks in enough space within the convention centre. After exploring the suitable buildings, now it has been noted that the Convention Centre was most suitable, and the convention centre is not charging high, it mainly costs for staffing and broadcast technology.
Fianna Fáil senator Eugene Murphy claimed that the money of the taxpayers are however wasted by holding Oireachtas sittings in the Convention Centre. Mixed opinion received over the use of the convention centre, as due to COVID situation the economy has already suffered and is far from recovery. Hence every penny spent is important.