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Irish politician criticised after apparently being woken up to vote on workers’ rights motion

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan voted against motion seeking to increase protection for workers

Emily Goddard
Friday 17 July 2020 13:42 BST
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Irish politician woken up so he can cast vote

The leader of Ireland’s Green Party has attracted criticism after he appeared to have fallen asleep in the Dail chamber during a vote.

Eamon Ryan appeared to be sleeping as his name was called repeatedly in the lower house of the Irish parliament on Thursday and, video shows, he had to be roused by Fianna Fáil chief whip Jack Chambers, who was sitting two rows in front.

Mr Ryan woke up to chuckles and eventually voted against the motion in progress, which had sought to hold the new government to adopting “an enhanced focus ... on creating good jobs and protecting workers’ rights” given the precarious nature of employment during the Covid-19 crisis.

Gary Gannon, the Social Democrat member of parliament who proposed the motion, described the incident as “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 told Independent.ie.

Others defended Mr Ryan, including independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice, who said it “can happen to anyone”. He told Independent.ie: “Probably the man has been doing long hours and anyone can fall asleep who’s doing long hours.”

The workers’ rights motion did not pass – something Mr Gannon said was a “missed opportunity” for the new tripartite coalition government to lay down a marker for how it intended to treat workers.

Mr Ryan is currently in a battle against the Greens' deputy leader, Catherine Martin, for the top spot.

The Independent has contacted the Green Party for comment.

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