From top: Leinster House first-floor interior; Micheál Martin
The extended summer holiday, the Leinster House refit and the Fianna Fáil leader.
What fresh slippery nonsense is this?
Steve White writes:
In October, Micheál Martin said in the Daíl that:
“The Dáil rose on 21 July and resumed on 27 September. In July, we were all told major works were to be undertaken to physically refurbish the Chamber, but that did not happen. Therefore, it transpired that there was no necessity for the longer than usual summer recess.”
I’ve been trying to find out if this statement is true or not as it’s an extraordinary claim considering the issue that has been made about the amount of work/legislation the Dáil has been able to do so far this term.
I’ve emailed Micheál Martin and Fianna Fail in the past few weeks with no replies.
I also emailed the Oireachtas and this is the reply I got:
As you’re probably aware, there were quite extensive works undertaken in the Dáil chamber during the summer recess (read more here and here). The quote may reference the wider restoration work to be completed in Leinster House but this would not have impacted on Dáil sitting dates. Perhaps Micheál Martin’s office may be able to clarify the quote, however.
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I have also received a reply from the Ceann Comhairle’s office, which said the same thing, (LCC Pat Gallagher was actually in the chair at the time).
It similarly says that the works that were meant to take place did take place, but the CC says he will not comment further, even though tens of thousands of people may have been misinformed about Oireachtas business.
The Irish Times, the Irish Mirror, the Independent and the Sunday Times all quoted what Micheál Martin said without clarifying.
There are also the minutes of the Oireachtas Commission meeting on October 4th, 2016 which say:
7. TECHNOLOGY IN THE CHAMBERS PROJECT
The Commission was briefed on the ICT project underway to modernise the technical systems in the Chambers of both Houses and in the Committee Rooms.
The Commission noted that the Technology in the Chambers project is part of a significant programme of ICT investment to build an Enterprise Architecture for the Service and to develop the ICT systems in the Houses to make them more responsive to the needs of users.
The Commission welcomed the project and noted the enhancements to the technical systems in the Dáil Chamber following completion of the necessary work within the agreed timeframe and budget over the summer recess period.
8. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
(i) Refurbishment works to Georgian Leinster House
The Secretary General updated the Commission on the progress on the refurbishment works to Georgian Leinster House. He noted that discussions on the relocation of the Seanad Chamber to the National Museum for the duration of the works were ongoing and had escalated to political level at this point.
But did Mr Martin get the distinction between the chamber refit over the summer and wider Leinster House works that are to take much longer confused? Even after they were explained to him?
Mr Martin said himself:
“The clerk did explain about the structural problems with Leinster House, the old part of Leinster House from his perspective, required urgent remedial works, in terms of securing it and so on.”