Dáil places for Northern MPs proposed

Northern MPs could get seats on a special committee of Dáil, it emerged tonight.

It is understood the ground-breaking proposal set to be put before the Dáil would see the formation of a new joint committee on the peace process made up of members of the Dáil, but with seats available to the North’s elected representatives.

The move falls short of Sinn Féin demands since it is believed Northern politicians would have no voting rights and meetings would be held in a committee room rather than the Dáil chamber, but republicans nevertheless said the plan was a positive step.

Sinn Féin Dáil Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said: “At the time of the Good Friday Agreement Sinn Féin secured agreement from the Irish Government that they would bring forward proposals for Northern representation in the Dáil.

“It is welcome that they are now moving on the issue.

“While it is disappointing that the proposals now before us fall short of what the Taoiseach had publicly agreed to and what was recommended by the all-party Oireachtas committee on the constitution, we view it as a first step that we will work to see built upon as quickly as possible.”

The fact that news of the proposal came days after Sinn Féin’s historic decision to support policing in the North has fuelled speculation that the proposal is a confidence-building measure in response to Sinn Féin’s policy shift.

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