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An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (Continued)

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1003 No. 7
Unrevised

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  1 o’clock

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Are the proposals for dealing with Thursday's business agreed to?

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett They are not agreed. Thursday would have been the logical day, as I see it, to have the promised debate on the Covid-19 response and the public health crisis. It is deeply ironic that the Taoiseach should cite as justification for not having that debate the non-essential travel and work requirements. It is precisely the Government's failure to police non-essential travel and non-essential work that means the situation is dangerously plateauing. We need to discuss that in detail this week and interrogate the Government's policy.

It is also ironic that the Taoiseach has cited his greater participation in the business of the House when the other issue I have raised for the past few weeks is the fact that the two sessions of Questions to the Taoiseach that normally follow Leaders' Questions are gone. We asked for just one of those sessions to be reinstated, as a compromise, in order that the Taoiseach would be subject to questioning. That was absolutely rejected. The Government is trying to minimise its exposure to questioning at a critical time for the country.

The Taoiseach: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The Deputy is deliberately distorting what I said. I was responding to Deputy Mac Lochlainn, who legitimately raised issues around the sitting of Parliament and so on. I was not justifying anything in regard to the number of days here and so on. I get the impression that Deputy Boyd Barrett wants to create opportunities to hog the debate himself, to the detriment of many other backbenchers from other parties across the House. He wants to create scenarios where he is getting far more of an input than others.

The Deputy knows that it is envisaged that there will be debates on Covid tomorrow. I do not know why he is just ignoring that reality. There will be a 100-minute debate, with statements, questions and answers, on mental health and Covid, which I think most Deputies in the House believe is a very serious issue which should be debated.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett I asked for that debate.

The Taoiseach: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The Deputy asked for it, but unless the House sits for 24 hours on the trot, I do not see how he will get everything in. That is just the reality.

  Next, the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is coming in to discuss the impact of Covid on childcare. There are also 100 minutes fixed for that debate.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath The clock is ticking on.

The Taoiseach: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I did not raise these issues, Deputy McGrath. Others did, and I am entitled to respond to the assertions that were made by Deputy Boyd Barrett. I am simply saying that the bulk of Thursday's business is to do with Covid issues relating to mental health, children and childcare. After those debates will be the resumed Second Stage debate on the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2020, and the Order for Second Stage and Second Stage of the Air Navigation and Transport Bill 2020. There will also be a Topical Issues debate, which Deputies want. Back bench Deputies appreciate the opportunity given by those debates. That is what is being provided for in the Order of Business.

  Question, "That the proposals for dealing with Thursday's business be agreed to", put and declared carried.


Last Updated: 22/03/2021 09:55:42 First Page Previous Page Page of 93 Next Page Last Page