Oireachtas Head of Communications Mark Mulqueen has defended the provision of early-90s Virtual Reality suits and goggles with which Senators and TDs will be equipped in the new year.
Mr Mulqueen said they would save money in the longer term, and that it is part of an overall modernising move towards a “paperless office” where “put simply, we can facilitate new ideas by pitching them in a hyper-powerful virtual run-time sandbox encapturementation paradigm providing out-of-the-box, real-world blue-sky rendering of TDs’ and Senators’ mental output, via virtual tooling and powerful computing engines”.
The Oireachtas Commission has decided to go to tender to purchase myriad virtual reality devices including large leather “Experience Chairs” and a gross of Virtual Reality helmets to be used by all members of the Oireachtas as part of their parliamentary work in Leinster House.
An Oireachtas source has confirmed that the body which administers the national parliament has approved a plan to purchase the VR equipment. By the winter you can expect to see a quite different Dáil chamber with members wearing heavily-wired suits and interacting in a virtual world, intermittently shooting guns or fighting with lightsaber style staffs as part of their Parliamentary duties.
“It is all part of modernising our national parliament and is in step with changes in parliaments worldwide,” said the source.
There should be “real and immediate” benefits to TDs and Senators as they move from plenary sessions of the Dáil or Seanad to the Oireachtas committee rooms within their virtual worlds. For instance, TDs may feel an Old West setting might be appropriate for a discussion on Social Welfare cuts, and can have the Ceann Comhairle duly call up a dusty Saloon setting, whereby members can duel, ride horses or table their budgetary discussions over whiskey and Texas Hold ‘Em.
Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan can take ministers on a virtual tour of an as-yet non-existent sculpture which is due to blight the N24 which will depict an abstract hurler with his eyes all sideways & his mouth on his forehead coupled with a load of Salmon leaping. Alan Shatter can then take people to a virtual rendering of what he says Ireland will look like once he has eradicated all crime, which he promises to do. “I promise” he added.
The Oireachtas will conduct an open competitive tendering process over the coming month, though it is rumored that Enda Kenny’s brother Tadgh – CEO of ailing Virtual Reality equipment company NEW MILLENIUM of Castlebar – is thought to be in pole position for the contract.