Constitutional Convention to discuss Dáil reform

Reform of the Dail is being discussed by the Convention on the Constitution this weekend.

The two-day meeting being held in the Grand Hotel, Malahide is the seventh gathering of the 100-member convention and will hear a series of academic presentations.

Issues on the agenda including the workings of the Dáil, the role of Committees and the Ceann Comhairle will be scrutinised.

Chairman of the Constitutional Convention Tom Arnold says the meeting will look at a range of issues.

"Firstly, examing how the Dáil works at the moment - what changes have been introduced already," he said.

"And also another range of things, including the role of Committees, the role of the Ceann Comhairle - and we will be looking at these by taking into account some of the changes that have already been made in parliaments in Europe and elsewhere in the world."

Former Taoiseach John Bruton and former Minister Noel Dempsey are among those addressing the meeting.

Mr Arnold said recommendations will be issued at the end of the discussions tomorrow and the Government will have four months to respond.

"Well, as for all the other issues we've dealt with we write a report, we include the recommendations from the weekend, the report goes before the houses of the Oireachtas and the Government has a commitment to make a response to that within four months of receiving the report," he said.

The Convention on the Constitution is a forum of 100 people, representative of Irish society and parliamentarians from the island of Ireland, with an independent Chairman.

The Convention was established by Resolution of both Houses of the Oireachtas to consider and make recommendations on certain topics as possible future amendments to the Constitution. The Convention is to complete its work within 12 months.

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