Dáil and Seanad Reopen To Economic Debate

Following the return of members from their six-week Christmas break today, the economy is expected to feature heavily in the business of both houses.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen will face Opposition parties this afternoon during the first leader's questions of the new session following the five-week winter break.

Debates on the economy are expected to take place all week as the Government and social partners attempt to agree a plan to cut €2 billion in public sector expenditure.

However, Fine Gael are not convinced the discussions will be meaningful.

Fine Gael Chief Whip Paul Kehoe TD has demanded that the Government revise its plans for a two-day Dáil debate on the economy, and instead table a motion.

"It is essential that this debate is a meaningful one. I have demanded that the Government changes its plan for open-ended statements and replace it with a real debate in which the Government presents a motion to which the Opposition can respond," Mr Kehoe said.

He added: "It is critical that the Dáil has this opportunity to scrutinise the Government's handling of the economy. My proposed format will facilitate a comprehensive examination of these issues that are of huge importance to the country and crucial to its economic future."


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