The Leas Cheann Comhairle election has been deferred.
The election of the Deputy Chairman of Dáil Éireann was supposed to be dealt with first thing on Thursday morning, with representatives from each party coming together at the Dáil Business Committee to decide on who would replace Pat the Cope Gallagher.
When no outcome could be reached, the decision was deferred and now looks likely now not to go ahead until next week.
In the absence of the Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, the Leas-Cheann Comhairle performs the duties and exercises the authority of the Ceann Comhairle in chamber.
The need for a deputy has never been so pressing, as the Dail operates with smaller numbers and a possibility that some members of the house, including Mr Ó Fearghaíl could be incapacitated for weeks, due to contracting COVD19 or mandatory self-isolation.
The Taoiseach has asked independent TD for Roscommon Denis Naughten to stand in for the role as a temporary measure in order to avoid a “constitutional crisis”, and Mr Naughten agreed in an effort to reach consensus.
However, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin have put forward their own representatives for the contest, in Brendan Smith and Aengus Ó Snodaigh, respectively.
It’s understood that the decision will now be taken after a series of telephone calls between leaders to try and agree a candidate instead of a vote.
This ad-hoc measure has been implemented to limit the possible spread of COVID19 and implement social distancing.
The election is usually done by secret ballot and the person selected is then to be formally elected as Leas-Cheann Comhairle by an open vote in the Dáil.