Several choreographed diversions and time-wasting interruptions were experienced in the Dáil this morning as a €112,000,000 spending estimate for TD’s wages and expenses was pushed through without any debate whatsoever in order to get out on time for the Dáil’s Halloween Holidays.
The morning started with the Order of Business but midway through was interrupted by Simon Coveney and Áine Collins doing an impromptu rendition of the old Bessie Love and Gus Shy number: “Gee Whizz (Billy-Oh) Gosh But I’d like To Make You Happy“, on the Dáil floor which threw the house into cheerful disarray. Coveney followed with a few standard one-liners and gags which lead up to a Domino’s Pizza delivery man opening the door of the Dáil and asking if he was at the correct address, (43 Ashgrove Avenue). After receiving directions and at Eamon Gilmore‘s request he took a large and time-consuming order from members of the house which required Enda Kennyto go and get change from the Dáil bar. Before leaving, Kenny enquired (via the Ceann Comhairle) whether members of the house NOT ordering from Domino’s would like beverages or refreshments.
Following this and just as the Ceann Comhairle was asking for calm in the house, a pair of excitable dogs came through the front door. As a number of TDs started chatting and petting the dogs, another man, dressed in overalls, arrived asking loudly about the owner of a 1993 Mitsubishi Colt, and would they move it as his skip van was attempting to pass in order to collect some smashed up furniture from a gutted restaurant nearby. Heather Humphreys (TD for Cavan-Monoghan) left to move the car but knocked against a water cooler on her way, sending it’s contents spilling to the floor. With water all over the Dáil entrance, the resultant treacherous surface caused Ruarí Quinn to slip backwards and fall as he walked in from a bathroom break while performing an uncanny impression of the bongo player from M People for Michael Noonan‘s enjoyment. As he was being helped up and given tea, a frisbee flew through an open window and a workman outside suddenly starting using an incredibly loud kango hammer.
Following a brief power outage, the Ceann Comhairle’s gavel went missing and a number of pigeons somehow got trapped in the building. While they were being shooed out, Joan Burton entertained the house with her always well-received & rousing rendition of the hit song “Hero” by Chad Kroeger.
The estimates outline plans to spend €112m in 2013 — an increase on this year’s €108m. It will bring the average cost of keeping each TD and senator up to €495,700, compared with €479,400 this year. Also included are travel expenses for TDs of €3.7m — up about €55,000 from last year; Travel expenses of €1.3m for senators; Other expenses and allowances for TDs of €6.3m — up from €5.7m; Other expenses for senators of €1.1m — an increase of €147,000.
With the day almost finished, Eamon Gilmore told the house that, in order to break on time for Halloween holidays, the motion must be voted on immediately with no time for discussion. It was passed 66 to 40.