PLANS to provide a prayer room in the newly-renovated Seanad are in limbo.
West Cork senator, Denis O’Donovan, Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann, confirmed that a proposal – which came from the Independent group in the upper house of the Oireachtas – is being considered.
‘I have no problem with it,’ Senator O’Donovan told The Southern Star, ‘I’m a Christian, but I do my own thing. The proposal was brought to the Committee for Procedures and Privileges and it was unanimously agreed that it would be referred to the Oireachtas Commission, who run the house, for consideration.
‘As Cathaoirleach, I am a member of that committee and it was discussed generally in November before the subject was taken with the Superintendent of the House, who is a senior non-political figure,’ explained the senator.
‘He had to check if such a room could be made available, but as there are major works being carried out to the Seanad he said he would have to talk to the Office of Public Works to see if such a space could be made available – so it is in limbo at the moment.’
Senator O’Donovan said: ‘Some of the rooms in the Seanad haven’t been touched for 200 years but the extensive renovations that are being carried out will be completed in time for the 100th anniversary of the first Dáil in 2019.
‘In the course of the programme of works, the issue will come up again,’ said Senator O’Donovan. ‘If people want to meditate, pray or reflect, I have no issue with it. They should be allowed to do that, but it is a matter for the Commission. I am Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, but I don’t run the show. It will all come down to logistics.’