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Dáil to vote on amendment to opening prayer rules

dail Image copyright RTE
Image caption TDs debated amending the standing order to have a prayer and a silent reflection on Tuesday

The Dáil (Irish Parliament) is to vote on new rules that would mean members would stand for the house's opening prayer.

The prayer is said at the start of proceedings in both houses of the parliament, the Dáil and Seanad Éireann (Irish senate).

The amendment was debated on Tuesday.

New proposals would also see a 30-second moment of silent reflection after the prayer.

The vote is expected to happen on Thursday.

Irish Minister of State Marcella Corcoran Kennedy said it had been a topic of discussion for some time.

The minister said the chamber "reflects the population as a whole" and it was unsurprising it had become a topic of discussion.

Fianna Fáil's Mary Butler and Anne Rabbitte both said they would like to see the prayer retained and welcomed the introduction of silent reflection time.

'British legacy'

However, the amendment was not welcomed by all TDs (members of Irish Parliament).

Sinn Féin's Aengus Ó Snodaigh said the tradition was only in existence as a "legacy from the British parliament" and instead called for a moment's silence.

"Hello, this is 2017", People Before Profit's Bríd Smith told the chamber. She said a separation of church and State was necessary.

Ms Smith said the country had moved on and requested that the Dáil "move with people and the times".

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