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 Header Item Business of Dáil (Continued)
 Header Item Standing Orders: Motion

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 817 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 72 Next Page Last Page

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams If you let me speak for two minutes we can move on.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett No, I will not let you speak for two minutes.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Why not?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett You are not entitled to speak for two minutes. That is the reason.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams You are allowed to make a speech.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I am entitled to correct the record where my reputation and the independence of this Chair are put at risk.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams The Ceann Comhairle has said this in front of me and others. Surely, in the interests of decency and fairness, I am entitled-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett To do what?

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams -----to outline what happened yesterday.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett No, I am outlining exactly what you said in this House.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Excuse me, I know what I said.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett It is incorrect. That is all I am saying.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Other representatives here have the right to hear-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett No, they are not entitled to hear what happened.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Are they not?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett You made an incorrect statement and I am correcting it.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams No, I did not make an incorrect statement.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin A Cheann Comhairle, could we-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Let us proceed with the motion.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Could I make a point of order?

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Would it be possible to convene a meeting between the leaders-----

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore A Cheann Comhairle-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputy Martin should sit down, please. The other Deputy is well able to look after himself.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Could I make a point of order?

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe Sit down, Deputy Martin.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams I wish to tell you what happened yesterday.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I am not interested in what happened yesterday.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams You should be interested.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I am interested in what you stated in the House-----

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams I understand that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett -----which was incorrect. I am correct in saying that Sinn Féin got three slots.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Let me explain to you the context in which I made the remarks.

Deputy Patrick O'Donovan: Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan The Deputy is making a habit of making those kinds of explanations.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett It is in black and white.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams I could have said all I wanted in one minute. I had to leave here yesterday-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I do not want to know where you had to go.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams -----to attend a family funeral-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett That has nothing to do with me.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams I sent word-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett You had three speaking slots throughout the day.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams I sent word to your office that I would not be available for Leaders' Questions.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Yes, that happens regularly.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams I understand that entirely. I was allocated-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett We are only wasting time.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams -----a slot for 8.30 p.m. I returned-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett You were not allocated a slot for 8.30 p.m.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams I was. I returned from Belfast to speak on the budget.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Nobody is allocated a slot for any given time.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Yes, they were.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Your office informed us that the rota had been rearranged-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett No, I did not rearrange anything.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams You had rearranged the order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Who told you that?

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams My office was told that by your office.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett By whom?

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams I was shown this-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett No, your office was not told that by my office.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams -----yesterday.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Excuse me, but that is another incorrect statement.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams It was shown yesterday on the computer by the Clerk.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The computer does not decide who speaks.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams You did.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh The Ceann Comhairle inputs it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I do not decide.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams You did.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Whoever puts it in the computer decides the order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Will the Deputy resume his seat and listen to what I say? It is a matter of convenience that we allocate slots proportionately, simply to bring a sort of order to the proceedings. Strictly speaking, it is a matter for the Chair to call the next speaker. The slots allocated yesterday were proportional to the representation in this House.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett No.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Sinn Féin, with 13 Members, got three slots, as opposed to Independents not aligned to the Technical Group, who got two slots.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly That is not proportionate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Will Deputies be quiet?

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly How do we get fewer slots?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Deputies agreed to an order.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Is it the case that the Reform Alliance is an Opposition party?

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe Join a party.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputy Martin should resume his seat.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Is the Reform Alliance an Opposition party now?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Deputy should resume his seat.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Deputy Ó Cuív lost his slot as well. The issue would be sorted-----

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore I wish to move No. d7.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin -----if the debate had not been guillotined-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Will Deputies allow the Tánaiste to move-----

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin -----and greater opportunities were given to people.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív Fine Gael is getting funding for them, which is a total farce.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin That is for the supposedly non-aligned Deputies.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe The same as Fianna Fáil did with Deputy Mattie McGrath.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív He is an Independent.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett -----the motion?

Standing Orders: Motion

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore I move:

That, with effect from 5 November 2013 and notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, the following amendments be made to the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business until further notice in the 31st Dáil:

(a) Quorum necessary to constitute meeting of Dáil on fortnightly Fridays

The substitution of the following for Standing Order 19:

‘19. (1) The quorum necessary to constitute a meeting of the Dáil, other than a meeting at which business comprehended by Standing Orders 88(2) and 117A is to be considered, shall be twenty members. [See S.O. 77]

(2) The quorum necessary to constitute a meeting of the Dáil for the purpose of considering business comprehended by Standing Orders 88(2) and 117A shall be ten members.’;

(b) Quorum not to apply while any fortnightly Friday business under consideration

In Standing Order 20, the insertion of ‘, or a Committee report under Standing Order 88(2),’ before ‘is under consideration’;

(c) Earlier start time

The substitution of the following for Standing Order 21:

‘21.(1) Unless the Dáil shall otherwise resolve—

(a) the Dáil shall meet every Tuesday at 2 p.m.; every Wednesday and Thursday at 9.30 a.m.; and, pursuant to Standing Order 28(3), on fortnightly Fridays at 10 a.m., according to a schedule to be issued by the Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach in the last week of the summer session each year, and

(b) the proceedings on any business under consideration shall be interrupted (or if the Dáil be in Committee, progress shall be reported and leave asked to sit again) and the Dáil shall adjourn—

(i) every Tuesday and Wednesday at 9 p.m.,

(ii) every Thursday at 5.30 p.m., and

(iii) on fortnightly Fridays at 2 p.m.:

Provided that if an Order shall have been made under Standing Order 22, that the hour at which business is to be interrupted be other than that specified in this paragraph, the provisions of this Standing Order with such substitution shall otherwise apply.

(2) If, at the time appointed for the interruption of business as provided in paragraph (1)(b) of this Standing Order, the closure is moved or proceedings under the closure are in progress, the Ceann Comhairle will not effect such interruption until the proceedings under the closure, and on any such further motion as is specified in the Standing Order as to closure [S.O. 66] have been completed.

(3) If, at the time appointed for the interruption of business as aforesaid,

(a) a division is in progress or has been ordered to be taken, or

(b) the debate on an item of business has concluded,

the interruption shall not take place until after the decision has been declared from the Chair. If the decision is on an amendment, or on an amendment to the amendment, after such declaration the Ceann Comhairle shall proceed to put in proper sequence the Questions necessary to bring proceedings to a conclusion.’;

(d) Suspension of sitting

In Standing Order 23, paragraph (1), the substitution of ‘for 60 minutes immediately following topical issues, save where the Dáil sits at 2.30 p.m.,’ for ‘from 1.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m.’;

(e) Leaders’ Questions

The substitution of the following for Standing Order 27:

‘27. (a) Unless the Dáil shall otherwise order on motion made by a member of the Government or Minister of State, Leaders’ Questions shall be taken—

(i) at 3.15 p.m. on Tuesdays, and

(ii) at 12 noon on Wednesdays and Thursdays, or immediately preceding the Order of Business on a Wednesday where the Dáil sits at 2.30 p.m.

(b) During the time allowed for Leaders’ Questions, the Ceann Comhairle may permit, at his or her discretion, a brief question not exceeding two minutes from each Leader in Opposition to the Taoiseach about a matter of topical public importance and in respect of which the following arrangements shall apply:

(i) the Taoiseach shall be called upon to reply for a period not exceeding three minutes,

(ii) the Leader in Opposition who asked the original question may then ask a brief supplementary question not exceeding one minute,

(iii) the Taoiseach shall then be called upon to reply in conclusion for a period not exceeding one minute.

(c) The Taoiseach may nominate another member of the Government to take Leaders’ Questions in his or her absence. On Thursdays the provisions of this Standing Order shall apply with the substitution of “Tánaiste” for “Taoiseach”.

(d) In this Standing Order, “Leader in Opposition” means the leader of a group as defined in Standing Order 120(1): Provided that the Leader of a party which is a group under Standing Order 120(1)(a) shall have precedence over the designated Leader of a group recognised under paragraph (1)(b) of that Standing Order.’;

(f) Topical Issue Debate

The substitution of the following for Standing Order 27A:

‘27A. (1) Any member may give notice in writing of a matter which he or she wishes to bring forward for consideration as a topical issue, and this may include matters of a national or international nature. Such matters shall be considered on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday on which the Dáil meets.

Provided that topical issues must reach the Clerk not later than—

(a) 10 a.m. on a Tuesday,

(b) 4 p.m. on a Tuesday for Wednesday, or 10 a.m. on a Wednesday where the Dáil sits at 2.30 p.m., and

(c) 10 a.m. on a Thursday.

(2) The Ceann Comhairle shall select a maximum of four such matters for consideration on each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: Provided that the matters selected must relate to public affairs connected with a Department of State or to matters of administration for which a member of the Government or Minister of State is officially responsible (including bodies under the aegis of a Department of State in respect of Government policy).

Provided further that where, in exceptional circumstances, the member of the Government or Minister of State officially responsible for the matter is not available on the day, the available member of Government or Minister of State shall so inform the member who has given notice immediately prior to the taking of the matter. The available Minister shall also inform the member who has given notice of the date on which the officially responsible member of the Government or Minister of State will be available. The member who has given notice shall then be given the option to—

(a) defer consideration of the matter to the day on which the officially responsible member of the Government or Minister of State will be available, when it will be the first matter to be taken, or

(b) proceed with the matter on the day with the participation of the available member of the Government or Minister of State;

Provided further that where a matter has been deferred to a particular day, the number of matters to be selected on that day shall be reduced according to the number of deferred matters.

(3) Matters selected by the Ceann Comhairle shall be considered—

(a) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, immediately after the order of business, or on a Wednesday where the Dáil sits at 2.30 p.m. immediately following Questions to a member or members of the Government, and

(b) on Thursdays, as the last item of business.

(4) Consideration of each topical issue shall consist of—

(a) a statement by the member who has given notice which shall not exceed 4 minutes,

(b) a statement in reply by a member of the Government or Minister of State, pursuant to paragraph (2), which shall not exceed 4 minutes,

(c) a further statement by the member who has given notice which shall not exceed 2 minutes, and

(d) a concluding statement by the member of the Government or Minister of State concerned which shall not exceed 2 minutes:

Provided that where the Ceann Comhairle has selected a matter of which valid notice has been given by more than one member and he is of the opinion that the number of members sharing time would result in insufficient time for each member to make an adequate contribution, he may, subject to paragraph (2), select fewer than four matters and aggregate the time that would ordinarily be assigned to two or more topical issues;

Provided further that—

(i) where the time allowed for such matters is aggregated, the total times allowed for the initial and further statements of members who have given notice, and of the member of the Government or Minister of State replying, shall be adjusted at the discretion of the Ceann Comhairle, and

(ii) the total time allowed for consideration of topical issues on any day shall not exceed 48 minutes;

Provided further that where topical issues on the same matter have been aggregated, and where the member of Government or Minister of State who is officially responsible for the matter is not available on the day, if any of the members who have been selected on the matter wish it to be deferred, then the matter shall be deferred;

Provided further that the Dáil shall not divide on any matter arising out of consideration of topical issues.

(5) A list of the matters in respect of which notice has been given under this Standing Order and the name of the member concerned in each case shall be printed in the Official Report of the Debates.

(6) The Ceann Comhairle shall have regard to requests made pursuant to Standing Order 40A(7) in selecting matters in accordance with this Standing Order.’;

(g) Routine of Business

The substitution of the following for Standing Order 28:

‘28. (1) Subject to Standing Order 26, the ordinary routine of business in the Dáil on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays shall be as follows:—

1. *Questions, Leaders’ Questions and topical issues.

2. Private Business.

3. Public Business—

(i) At the commencement of Public Business—

(a) Motions in relation to reports from Committees given priority under Standing Orders 102A, 105, 106 or 107.

(b) Other reports from Committees.

(c) Messages from the Seanad.

(d) Bills from the Seanad.

(e) Initiation of Bills.

(f) Notices of Motions.

(ii) Orders of the Day.

(2) Other than when the Dáil meets to consider business comprehended by Standing Orders 88(2) and 117A, the ordinary routine of business in Private Members’ time [S.O. 117] shall be as follows:—

(i) Adjourned Business given priority under Standing Orders.

(ii) Other Business ordered.

(iii) Other Notices of Motions.

(3) When the Dáil meets on fortnightly Fridays in accordance with Standing Order 21(1)(a), to consider business comprehended by Standing Orders 88(2) and 117A, business shall be confined to—

(i) a Bill selected pursuant to Standing Order 117A, and

(ii) a Committee report selected pursuant to Standing Order 88(2), or

(iii) on alternate fortnightly Fridays, or in the event no Committee report is available for consideration, two Bills selected pursuant to Standing Order 117A.’;

*Subject to the provisions of Standing Orders 27, 27A and 36.

(h) Changed deadlines for Questions

The substitution of the following for Standing Order 33:

‘33. Questions to a member of the Government must be in writing. A Question must reach the Clerk not later than 11 a.m. on—

(a) the third day preceding the day on which it is to be asked if an answer is to be provided in the Official Report of the Debates [S.O. 40(2)],

(b) the fourth day preceding the day on which it is to be asked if it is nominated for priority [S.O. 39], or

(c) the fifth day preceding the day on which it is to be asked if it is an ordinary oral Question [S.O. 38],

not reckoning a Saturday, Sunday, or public holiday.

Provided that Questions relating to matters of urgent public importance may, by permission of the Ceann Comhairle, be asked on private notice. Such Questions must be in writing and must reach the Clerk not later than 2.30 p.m. on the day on which they are to be asked.’;

(i) Questions not to be repetitive of topical issues

In Standing Order 35, in paragraphs (3) and (4), the deletion of ‘or in response to a matter raised under Standing Order 27A’;

(j) Time for Questions

The substitution of the following for Standing Order 36:

‘36. (1) Unless the Dáil shall otherwise order on motion made by a member of the Government or Minister of State—

(a) Questions for oral answer to the Taoiseach may be taken for one hour after Leaders’ Questions on Tuesdays.

(b) Questions for oral answer to other members of the Government shall be taken—

(i) from 2 p.m. to 3.15 p.m. on Tuesdays, and

(ii) from 9.30 a.m. to 10.45 a.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, or from 2.30 p.m. to 3.45 p.m. on Wednesdays where the Dáil sits at 2.30 p.m.:

Provided that Questions asked on private notice may be taken by permission of the Ceann Comhairle and shall be asked for 30 minutes immediately after the order of business on Tuesdays, for 30 minutes immediately before Private Members’ time on Wednesdays, and during the thirty minutes before the taking of topical issues on Thursdays.

(2) The time allowed for Questions nominated for priority for any one day shall not exceed thirty minutes.’;

(k) Members may not nominate Questions in the names of other members, and members must be present to introduce Questions for oral answer

In Standing Order 38—

(a) the substitution of the following for paragraph (1)(ii):

‘(ii) No member may put down Questions in the name of another member. No member may put down more than two Questions to each member of the Government for answer on any one day: Provided that a member nominated by a group in Opposition may put down a maximum of five Questions.’;

and

(b) the insertion of the following new paragraph after paragraph (1):

‘(1A) A Question shall be put by the member in whose name the Question appears on the Order Paper rising in his or her place, indicating the number of the Question on the Order Paper and giving a brief introduction of no more than 30 seconds to the Question, otherwise the Question will not be answered orally. Where Questions put down for oral answer are grouped for reply, the introduction to the group of Questions shall be given by one member only, that being the member with the first Question in the group, or if that member is not available, by the second member, and so on.’;

(l) Standing Order 41 deleted

The deletion of Standing Order 41.

(m) Repetition not to apply in relation to topical issues

In Standing Order 56, paragraph (1), the insertion of ‘: Provided that in determining whether a discussion is out of order on the ground of repetition, the Ceann Comhairle shall disregard discussion of any matter during the debate on a Topical Issue’ after ‘preceding six months’;

(n) Drafting amendment to Standing Order 57(4)

In Standing Order 57, paragraph (4), the substitution of ‘Standing Order 27A’ for ‘Standing Order 21’;

(o) Post-enactment consideration of legislation

In Standing Order 82A, paragraph (4), the insertion of the following after subparagraph (e):

‘(ea) reports under Standing Order 141A by members of the Government or Ministers of State on Bills which have been enacted in the previous 12 months,’;

(p) Power to require reports for post enactment consideration of legislation

In Standing Order 83, the insertion of the following after paragraph (6A):

‘(6B) power to require that a member of the Government or Minister of State who is officially responsible for the implementation of an Act shall attend before the Select Committee in relation to consideration of a report under Standing Order 141A;’;

(q) Debating of reports from Committees: fortnightly Fridays

The substitution of the following for Standing Order 88:

‘88. (1) Where a Standing, Select, Special or Joint Committee, as the case may be, makes a report containing a request that the report be debated by the Dáil, a motion to consider the report shall, as soon as practicable after the adoption of the report by the Committee, be placed on the Order Paper: Provided that any such motion which is not moved within twelve months from the date on which it was first placed on the Order Paper shall be deemed to have lapsed, but without prejudice to the right to put down such motion again.

(2) The Committee Chairman may give notice that he or she wishes to bring forward for consideration on a fortnightly Friday in accordance with Standing Order 21(1)(a), a Committee report that has been laid before the Dáil and in respect of which a motion to consider the report is listed on the Order Paper: Provided that such notice shall be received by the Clerk not later than 11 a.m. on the fourth preceding Friday. Further provided that, once notice has been given in respect of a report for any fortnightly Friday, such notice will stand for each subsequent fortnightly Friday*, until the report is selected for consideration or the Committee Chairman indicates to the contrary.

(3) Where notice from more than one Committee has been received in respect of any fortnightly Friday, the report to be considered shall be determined by lottery, at which members may attend. Provided that such lottery shall take place on the fourth preceding Friday.

(4) The time allowed for the debate on the motion to consider the report shall not exceed a period of two hours in the aggregate.

Provided that the following time limits and sequence of speakers shall apply to the debate:

(a) the speeches of—

(i) the member proposing the motion who shall be the Chairman of the Committee or another member of the Committee nominated in his or her stead, and

(ii) a member of the Government or Minister of State, who shall outline the Government’s response to the report, including the Government’s response to any recommendations contained therein,

shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case;

(b) the speech of each other member called upon shall not exceed 10 minutes;

(c) a member of the Government or Minister of State, who may speak twice, shall be entitled to make a speech immediately before the reply by the proposer, which shall not exceed 10 minutes;

(d) the proposer shall be entitled to not more than 10 minutes for a speech in reply; and

(e) all members shall be entitled to share their time.’;

*Subject to the provisions of Standing Order 28(3).

(r) Allocation of time between Government business and private members’ business, and divisions on fortnightly Fridays to be postponed

In Standing Order 117—

(a) the substitution of the following for paragraph (1)(b)(ii):

‘(ii) on fortnightly Fridays in accordance with Standing Order 21(1)(a), to one Bill initiated by a private member, selected for consideration pursuant to Standing Order 117A, and one Committee report, selected pursuant to Standing Order 88, or, on alternate fortnightly Fridays or in the event no Committee report is available for consideration, to two Bills initiated by private members and selected pursuant to Standing Order 117A.’;

and

(b) the insertion of the following paragraph before paragraph (2):

 ‘(1A) The Ceann Comhairle shall, where a division has been demanded on a sitting on a fortnightly Friday in accordance with Standing Order 21(1)(a), postpone the taking of such division until immediately after the Order of Business on the next day on which the Dáil shall sit.’;

(s) First Fridays: private members’ Bills

The substitution of the following for Standing Order 117A:

‘117A. (1) Any member other than a member of the Government or Minister of State may give notice that he or she wishes to bring forward for consideration, on fortnightly Fridays in accordance with Standing Order 21(1)(a), a Bill that has been initiated by him or her and that is listed on the Order Paper at Second Stage or order for Second Stage: Provided that such notice shall be received by the Clerk not later than 11 a.m. on the fourth preceding Friday. Further provided that, once notice has been given in respect of a Bill for any fortnightly Friday, such notice will stand for each subsequent fortnightly Friday until the Bill is selected for consideration or the member sponsoring the Bill indicates to the contrary.

(2) Where notice from more than one member has been received in respect of any fortnightly Friday, a Bill to be considered shall be determined by lottery, at which members may attend. Provided that such lottery shall take place on the fourth preceding Friday.

(3) Any Bill to be considered on a fortnightly Friday pursuant to this Standing Order and Standing Orders 28 and 117 shall be set down for Second Stage and the time allowed for the debate on the motion for second reading shall not exceed a period of two hours in the aggregate:

Provided that the following time limits and sequence of speakers shall apply to the debate:

(a) the speeches of—

(i) the member proposing the motion for the second reading of the Bill, and

(ii) a member of the Government or Minister of State,

shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case;

(b) the speech of each other member called upon shall not exceed 10 minutes;

(c) a member of the Government or Minister of State, who may speak twice, shall be entitled to make a speech immediately before the reply by the proposer, which shall not exceed 5 minutes;

(d) the proposer shall be entitled to not more than 10 minutes for a speech in reply; and

(e) all members shall be entitled to share their time.’;

(t) Time for Bills on fortnightly Fridays, and putting the question on private Members’ business

In Standing Order 121—

(a) in paragraph (2), the substitution of ‘The time allowed for the debate on the motion for the second reading of a Bill initiated by a private member, other than a Bill to be considered on a fortnightly Friday [See S.O. 117A], shall not exceed a period of six hours in the aggregate.’ for ‘The time allowed for the debate on the motion for the second reading of a Bill initiated by a private member, other than a Bill to be considered on the first Friday of a month [See S.O. 117A], shall not exceed a period of six hours in the aggregate.’;

and

(b) the insertion of the following paragraph after paragraph (2):

‘(2A) If a member claims to move, “That the question be now put” prior to the expiration of the said periods in paragraphs (1) and (2), such motion shall not be allowed if it appears to the Ceann Comhairle that it is an infringement of the rights of a minority, or that the question has not been adequately discussed, or that the motion is otherwise an abuse of these Standing Orders.’;

(u) Pre-legislative consideration

The insertion of the following new Standing Order before Standing Order 124:

‘123A. Prior to its presentation or introduction to the Dáil, the general scheme or draft heads of a Bill shall, save in exceptional circumstances [see also S.O. 125], be given by a member of the Government or Minister of State to the Committee empowered under Standing Order 82A to consider Bills published by the member of the Government.’;

(v) Five-minute statement on introduction of Bill

In Standing Order 124, the substitution of the following for paragraph (2):

‘(2) Any member may move for leave to introduce a Bill. The Ceann Comhairle shall permit that member to make an explanatory statement thereon not exceeding five minutes in length. If such motion be opposed, the Ceann Comhairle shall permit in accordance with paragraph (4) an explanatory statement not exceeding five minutes in length from the member who moves and from a member who opposes the motion before he or she puts the question thereon. If leave to introduce the Bill is given, an Order shall be made for its second reading and the Bill shall be printed.’;

(w) Speaking times on second reading

In Standing Order 125—

(a) the substitution of the following for paragraph (3):

‘(3) Unless the Dáil shall otherwise order, the speech of—

(i) the member of the Government or Minister of State proposing the motion for the second reading of the Bill,

(ii) the main spokesperson nominated by each of the groups, as defined in Standing Order 120, and

(iii) a member who is the Chairman or vice Chairman of the Committee appointed to consider Bills in respect of the relevant Government Department, or a member of the Committee nominated in their stead, speaking in relation to that Committee’s pre-legislative consideration of the Bill,

shall not exceed thirty minutes in each case; and the speech of any other member in the course of the debate shall not exceed twenty minutes. Provided that for the purposes of this Standing Order a party which is a group under Standing Order 120(1)(a) shall have precedence over a group recognised under paragraph (1)(b) of that Standing Order;

Provided further that a member who is the Chairman or vice Chairman of the Committee appointed to consider Bills in respect of the relevant Government Department, or a member of the Committee nominated in their stead, may only make a speech pursuant to paragraph (iii) where the Bill has been the subject of pre legislative consideration under Standing Order 123A. Provided further that such contribution shall not preclude a further contribution in a personal capacity by that member in the course of the debate;

Provided further, in the event the pre-legislative consideration under Standing Order 123A has not taken place, that the member of the Government or Minister of State proposing shall give the reason therefor during his or her opening remarks. Such member of the Government or Minister of State, or such other member as he or she may authorise in that behalf, shall be also entitled to not less than fifteen minutes, and not more than thirty minutes, for a speech in reply.’,

and

(b) the addition of the following paragraph:

‘(4) The Dáil may order that after the speech in reply by the member of the Government or Minister of State proposing, an additional 45 minutes be allocated during which members shall be entitled to make second speeches, with the following time limits and sequence of speakers:

(i) the speeches of the spokespersons and the Chairman or vice-Chairman of the Committee appointed to consider Bills in respect of the relevant Government Department, or a member of the Committee nominated in their stead, shall not exceed three minutes in each case;

(ii) the speech of each other member called upon shall not exceed three minutes; and

(iii) the member of the Government or Minister of State proposing the motion for the second reading of the Bill, or such other member as he or she may authorise in that behalf, shall be entitled to speak for the final three minutes.’;

and

(x) Post-enactment consideration of legislation

The insertion of the following new Standing Order before Standing Order 142:

‘141A. Twelve months following the enactment of a Bill, save in the case of the Finance Bill and the Appropriation Bill, the member of the Government or Minister of State who is officially responsible for implementation of the Act shall provide a report which shall review the functioning of the Act and which shall be laid in the Parliamentary Library.’.”

This is a set of measures to reform the way in which the Dáil does its business, and if there was ever a case for this reform, the conduct of business this morning makes it clear.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe Hear, hear.

Deputy Patrick O'Donovan: Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan Hear, hear.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore The reform package we are introducing is essentially a set of common sense measures to improve the way the Dáil works. This House has two key functions; these are to hold the Government to account and enact and amend legislation. We must improve the way in which we do both of these. The way we do our business is based on a set of ideas and systems that have evolved since the 19th century, and that process of evolution must take another step forward. Parliament is different from other work places, and the work done by Deputies extends well beyond the formal sitting times for this House. Nevertheless, the Dáil can no longer work in a way that is so far removed from the experience of fellow citizens. We must change the way we work and show a more timely capacity to hold the Executive to account and make our legislative process more inclusive and timely. We need not only to listen to other voices but show that we are listening.

Over the past decade the amount of resources available to individual Deputies has been significant increased. The staff compliment in the research and library facilities has improved enormously compared to when I was first elected to the Dáil in 1989. Our structures and systems have not been reformed at the same pace. The changes being proposed today will require deeper and more considered engagement in the legislative process. Committees are not a platform for party political speeches and soundbite opportunities, and they require considered effort and engagement if they are to work effectively.

The measures we are introducing to this House are building on reforms already introduced over the past two years, such as an additional slot for Leaders' Questions on a Thursday, Topical Issue debates, Friday sittings to allow Deputies from both the Opposition and Government benches to introduce Bills and a reduction by nine in the number of Oireachtas committees. Today's proposed changes to Standing Orders will significantly enhance scrutiny of legislation, spending and policy, as well as the capacity of Deputies to hold the Government to account. It will also open the legislative process to new voices and ideas.

For example, in future all non-emergency legislation will be required to be sent to the relevant Oireachtas committee for examination, debate and consideration with the input of relevant experts, if there is a wish to do so. We have seen how this process was used to positive effect, particularly when it comes to public confidence in the law making process, with the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill earlier this year. I know from ministerial colleagues that they have often found this type of scrutiny of legislation before proceeding to drafting to be particularly useful, as it can catch anomalies or unintended consequences early, hence reducing the need for late amendments. It can also help in introducing new, previously unconsidered angles or ideas.

Another positive change to how we do business will be a significant role for Oireachtas committees in fiscal accountability. With the budget now in October, for the first time Oireachtas committees can consider departmental Estimates before any money is spent and not, as was previously the case, only after the fact.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The budget debate is guillotined, as well as the debate on the social welfare Bill.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore The new Dáil schedule will also extend sitting times, allowing for an increase in the time for debate, and the Dáil will sit every second Friday to consider legislation put forward by Deputies and committee reports. In order to ensure that Deputies seeking to raise important issues under the new Topical Issue debate can get an effective answer to questions, in future a Minister or Minister of State from a relevant Department must take the issue in the Dáil.

Improving the quality of our democracy is about more than what happens on the floor of the Dáil, and it is also about the culture in which our politics operates. That is why this Government has introduced legislation to restore the Freedom of Information Act, whistleblower measures and the regulation of lobbying, as well as cutting political donations and effectively banning corporate donations. The Irish people deserve a hard-working, efficient and modern Parliament, and the changes proposed today are another step in the right direction.

Deputy Joanna Tuffy: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy On a point of order, the average Deputy, like me, has been excluded from the debate on Dáil reform, which is totally inappropriate. These decisions have been made by leaders and they have never really consulted with people like me. I object to that.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Well said.

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I remind the Deputy that in July 2011 we had a full day of debate on Dáil reform, which was the first time there was a full debate on Dáil reform.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin It was July 2011.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe That was when we introduced some Dáil reform. The leader of the Fianna Fáil Party did not even contribute to that debate, which indicated his interest in Dáil reform after being appointed leader of Fianna Fáil. No parliament is perfect and the process of parliamentary reform is always ongoing. For many Deputies in the Chamber elected before 2011, like me, the changes introduced to date by this Government have significantly enhanced their role. Deputies can now draft their own legislation and have it debated in the Dáil.


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