And finally… flaw in order

A private member’s bill extending Ireland’s rent freeze by a year has sailed through second stage after a government minister forgot to oppose it.

The Eviction Ban Bill 2022 was introduced to the Dáil by Richard Boyd Barrett of the left-wing party People Before Profit, which has just four TDs.

Kieran O’Donnell, minister of state in the Department of Housing, told TDs that the government opposes the bill “for a number of reasons”, including the need to balance the rights of landlords and tenants.

However, Mr O’Donnell failed to speak up when the Ceann Comhairle asked if the bill was opposed, meaning that it completed the second stage with no opposition.

Amid jibes that he was “asleep at the wheel”, the minister of state blamed a “rookie error” and asked the Ceann Comhairle to be “flexible” and allow the bill to be opposed.

The Ceann Comhairle said bluntly: “No. There is a well-established practice. You call for a decision. The decision was made and I am not prepared to have it unmade.”

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