Limerick Junior Minister ‘forgot’ to oppose evictions bill

Minister of State asking the Ceann Comhairle for flexibility.

NEWLY appointed Minister of State for Housing Kieran O’Donnell found himself in an embarrassing position in the Dáil on Wednesday when he forgot to oppose a bill on banning evictions.

The Limerick Fine Gael TD  found himself at odds with Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Feargháil when an extension of the Eviction Ban bill was proposed by People Before Profit.

The Ceann Comhairle asked if the bill was being opposed or if it could move to the next stage. When he received no answer, the bill was passed to the the second stage.

A few moments later, Minster O’Donnell protested that he was “opposing the bill”.

“You didn’t oppose it. You can’t come in afterwards,” responded the Ceann Comhairle.

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Minister O’Donnell, who had been speaking with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the time, pleaded his case to be allowed to officially oppose the bill, saying it was a “rookie error”.

“I’d ask you to be some bit flexible, just on this occasion,” the Limerick TD petitioned.

The Ceann Comhairle said he was not prepared to reopen the matter, adding that there is clear established practice for opposing bills when they come before the Dáil.

“There’s well established practice, you call for a decision to be made. The decision was made and I’m not up here to have it unmade.”

The People Before Profit Bill has now moved to detailed scrutiny stage.