| 13.7°C Belfast

'It’s like being in the cinema and it’s not too hard to fall asleep in the cinema' - TD defends Eamon Ryan sleeping in the Dail

There were humorous scenes in the Dail on Thursday after Green Party leader Eamon Ryan was spotted catching up on his beauty sleep.

As the members voted during a Social Democrat motion on lower paid jobs and employment rights, when Mr Ryan was called on to vote, he was spotted snoozing.

It took the Fianna Fail government chief whip Jack Chambers, sitting a seat ahead, to wake up the party leader and tell him to vote for or against the motion.

This comes in the midst of a head-to-head leadership race with deputy Green Party leader Catherine Martin, who was sitting four rows behind and suppressing a smile with her hand to her mouth as she watched Eamon awake from his slumber.

The Green Party, as well as Mr Ryan, did not reply to repeated requests for comment.

He then voted against the motion which sought to increase protection for workers across a range of areas, including low-pay, precarious work, collective bargaining and the valuing of essential workers.

It did not pass and Social Democrat TD Gary Gannon, who proposed the motion, called the incident “disappointing”.

“There is a manner in which we carry ourselves in the Dail chamber and there is an expectation that at the very minimum, you should be awake,” he said.

“We brought this motion very seriously and I felt very honoured to propose this motion.

“The leader of the Green Party is going to be asleep after amending it without any substance, I don’t think it sends a very good message,” he added.

“We brought a motion that we felt was very constructive and then he goes and falls asleep?

“It’s disappointing.”

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice, who was in the Chamber, also told Independent.ie that the seats in the Convention Centre in Dublin, where the Dail has been sitting during the pandemic, are like “cinema seats”.

“Probably the man has been doing long hours and anyone can fall asleep who’s doing long hours.

“It’s like being in the cinema and it’s not too hard to fall asleep in the cinema. The sooner we get back to the Dáil, the better, because it’s the most unsuitable place ever we were.

“We’d be better off back in the Dail, whatever sacrifices we’d have to make.

“You’re like a midge above in the sky, a tadpole in the sea,” he said, referring to the size of the convention centre.

“That can happen to anyone.

“The Dail is sitting late most nights now, if you’re doing 15, 16, 17 hours a day, you have to be tired,” he added.

Irish Independent