What Happens In The Event Of A Hung Dáil?
AS behind the scenes negotiations carry on amongst the major Irish political parties, the question still remains, in the event of a failure to form a government, what happens in the event of a hung Dáil?
WWN combed the fine print of Dáil procedures and the constitution to find out:
Firstly, according to section 22.4b of Dáil procedures, all incoming and outgoing TDs must assemble in Leinster House, and in a symbolic purging of the ill-will felt during the election campaign, they must look one another in the eyes and proclaim “although you are my enemy, I love you so”. Each and every TD, incoming and outgoing, then strips naked and piles their clothes on a makeshift bonfire which is then set on fire.
This event now takes place in the courtyard of Leinster House, after the regrettable Dáil chambers fire of 1927.
While this all seems very archaic and a throwback to an old way of doing politics, there is a newer addition to the protocols which will please some voters. Each party leader must write a letter to every voter which begins with the words “I’m sorry I couldn’t make you believe in me”, the content of the rest of the letter is at the discretion of the leaders.
One member of the public from each constituency is invited to the viewing gallery in the Dáil chambers, and is furnished with a large supply of rotten fruit which they are encouraged to throw in the direction of the outgoing government.
The voting public doesn’t get off scot free, however, as the day a hung Dáil is confirmed the Nation must sit in front of the mirror for 10 minutes in complete silence, in order to fully contemplate their decision to vote for the person and the party they chose.
In the absence of an elected government, the outgoing government must carry on with the day to day running of the country, and appoint a so-called ‘Caretaker Taoiseach’. New hung Dáil provisions state that the Caretaker Taoiseach must be chosen at random in a lottery made up of people who voted in the previous election.
That process was carried out yesterday, and so Dessie O’Reilly, a 54-year-old taxi driver from Tallaght, was appointed to the position of Caretaker Taoiseach.
In a more modern touch, in the event of a hung Dáil and a return to another election, expert marriage counsellors are appointed to oversee potential coalition negotiation sessions, but these sessions have been less than successful with one counsellor remarking that a session with Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin just “dragged up painful memories from the past”.
A hung Dáil would mean a second election at some point later in the year, but the fine print in the constitution tells us that it would be a very different election, as candidates would only be permitted to issue a maximum of 100 outright lies per day on the campaign.
This would be expanded to just 200 for each televised leaders’ debate.