Republic of Ireland news

Six TDs hold protest amid Dáil prayer row

Six TDs remained seated during the Dáil prayer yesterday afternoon amid a row over the practice

SIX TDs remained seated during the Dáil prayer yesterday afternoon amid a row over adding 30 seconds of silent reflection to the daily practice.

Before each day's Dáil proceedings, a prayer is recited in both Irish and English.

Last week, TDs agreed to change the rules to add 30 seconds of silent reflection to the daily prayer.

Under the new rules, TDs are asked to stand for the prayer and the silent reflection each day.

However, some Solidarity/People Before Profit TDs wanted the prayer scrapped.

Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger suggested a prayer room should be set up in Leinster House to allow members of the Oireachtas to pray instead of having a formal prayer in the Dáil chamber each day.

Ms Coppinger and colleague Mick Barry yesterday refused to stand for the prayer and held up banners in the chamber which said "separate church and state".

Other Solidarity/PBP TDs including Richard Boyd Barrett, Bríd Smith, and Gino Kenny also remained seated.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl did not react to yesterday's protest.

Many parliaments and assemblies have prayers before sittings.

At Stormont, a private two-minute period of prayer or silent contemplation happens before the daily commencement of business.

Sittings of the Commons and the House of Lords begin each day with spoken prayers.

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