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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Reduced Seanad sittings is the governments fault not the Senators

In reponse to this article Seanad sittings down 10% since referendum - RTÉ News and the other malicious, lazy and contextless reporting on reduced Seanad sittings, that don't question the governments power to determine the schedule. Counting sitting hours would be fairer but I suspect it would still be significantly down. Catherine Noone says they sat late recently, as ever the last minute rush of legislation before the summer, never a good thing.

See also my other blog post with the attendance of Senators for 2013 and 2014 (so far) visualised.
Senators Oireachtas Attendance 2014 January to May
Senators Oireachtas attendance 2013

Seanad Calendar 2013-2014
Seanad calendar winter to summer 2012-2013 and winter summer 2013-2014 for comparison.



The Seanad sat less days because the government didn't have legislation for the senators to debate, this is their primary job and in our system the government produces legislation.

Government has yet to publish any of the 42 Bills it has promised for first half of the year
Irish Times March 20 2014

New system
A spokesman for Mr Kehoe said the hiatus was partly due to a new system for bringing legislation through the Dáil. It is designed to achieve a “better flow” of legislation through both Houses of the Oireachtas and minimise the number of debates on legislation where the Government applies a guillotine (effectively curtails debate).
He added that a small number of Bills had been approved by Cabinet but their publication had been held back until next week.

Even the Ceann Comhairle isn't told what's happening.
Barrett kept in the dark on new Dail reforms as relations worsen


Reduced weeks of sittings days

8th - 10th October
Order of Business: 8 Oct 2013: Seanad debates (KildareStreet.com)
Before we commence, I wish to notify Members that the reason for the two-day sitting this week is that it was, naturally, very difficult to predict how this week would work out.
The Seanad sat for just two days this week TheJournal.ie October 10th 2013

Governments fault for having a referendum on Seanad abolition.

19th - 21st November
The Seanad sat for just two days this week… again

However, Bruton’s trade mission to India means discussion on the report and final stages of the mammoth Companies Bill has been moved to next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Fitzgerald is due in the Dáil to oversee the passage of the Child and Family Agency Bill, meaning she cannot provide what’s officially titled as ‘An Update on Youth Justice Policy’. This has been deferred to an unspecified later date

Governments fault.

4th - 6th and 11th - 13th February

John Whelan: “The Seanad cannot put in place even three sitting days as normal this week as there is no legislation forthcoming from the Dáil or any Ministers available to take debates on policy, pending legislation or important public consultations.”

Two day sitting - Thejournal.ie

Order of Business: 4 Feb 2014: Seanad debates (KildareStreet.com)
Maurice Cummins: Senators Cullinane and Kelly raised the sittings of the House. I said last week during the debate on Seanad reform that Departments will have to address the situation where we have little or no legislation at the beginning of a term and a rush of legislation towards the end of a term. These peaks and troughs have existed for as long as I have been a Member of the House but they need to be addressed. On many occasions, we hear that the Government is responsible and accountable to Dáil Éireann and I cannot demand that Ministers come to the House for statements on any item within their remit. Some Ministers are co-operative but others, for many reasons, have been unable to give the time Members expect.


Governments fault.

25th - 27th March

Government has yet to publish any of the 42 Bills it has promised for first half of the year
Irish times March 20 2014
New system
A spokesman for Mr Kehoe said the hiatus was partly due to a new system for bringing legislation through the Dáil. It is designed to achieve a “better flow” of legislation through both Houses of the Oireachtas and minimise the number of debates on legislation where the Government applies a guillotine (effectively curtails debate).

He added that a small number of Bills had been approved by Cabinet but their publication had been held back until next week.

Governments fault.

June


Seanad Calendar Attendance Heatmap 2014 Click to embiggen and interact. This tells me around 70% of Seantors were in the days that sittings were cancelled, anyway.


Red:Non-Sitting Days(includes committees)/Blue:Sitting days.
Seanad Dates Data
Can't show useful percentage sittings for full 2013 year as only up to 120 sittings and non-sittings days are recorded.

http://www.kildarestreet.com
Gooole Heatmap Calendar

Senators Oireachtas Attendance 2014 January to May
Senators Oireachtas attendance 2013

Monday, 21 July 2014

TDs Oireachtas attendance 2014 January to May

google docs folder with attendance data and stats

Source of data
Deputies Attendance Publication for 31st Dáil - 1st January 2014 - 31st May 2014 Attendance record can be imperfect as sometimes TDs forget to fob in, or were away on Oireachtas business not recorded needs to be reconciled with dail record and committee attendance at end of year.

I use Scraperwiki Table Extract to turn pdf into csv file but there is still alot rearranging to do.


Total number of sittings days in the period 111
Total attendance recorded for allowance purposes 120

The number of attendances may be altered for attendance reconciliation adjustments before the end of year period. The regulations provide for reconciliation for (1) ill health reasons, (2) attendance by a member abroad in the performance of his/her duties as a member or office holder, or elsewhere in the state on behalf of a committee or (3) extraordinary circumstances which the appropriate authority determines are good and sufficient and could not have been foreseen. Administrative reconciliations are recorded based on specified evidence of attendance in Leinster House.


so it counts up sitting and non-sitting attendance days (which include committee days) till both reaches 120 and then stop counting (even sitting days). Also they could be marked in even when they havn't gone to Dail.


Flextime.ie Oireachtas/Irish Parliament - Case Study
Parliamentary Standard Allowance useful as it groups Senators by distance to Oireachtas.
example of data being wrong
Parliamentary Standard Allowance Rules
Sitting and Non-sitting recorded only up to only 120 days in total, does not record ministers attendance.
Parliamentary Standard Allowance useful as it groups TDs by distance to Dail.

Percentage of TDs, recorded attendance at the Dail Jan - May 2014 with google D3 calendar heatmap


Percentage of TDs, recorded attendance at the Dail Jan - May 2014

Red:Non-Sitting Days(includes committees)/Blue:Sitting days.

Dail Dates Data

This tell me that average attendance on sitting days.

Sitting 67%
Sitting except Friday 72%
All days not including recess 50%
All days including recess 42%

Gooole Heatmap Calendar


http://www.kildarestreet.com