Thursday, 30 July 2020
Gnó na Dála - Business of Dáil
Pádraig Mac Lochlainn (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
For weeks the various political parties and groupings on the Dáil reform committee and Business Committee have debated the issue of proportional speaking, dealt with the issue of committee formation and a range of other issues to try to make this place work for everybody and be fair to everybody. The secretariat brought forward proposals a number of weeks ago relating to modelling for proportionality to be fair to everybody. Those proposals were not accepted and we had Government proposals as we come to the end of this Dáil term.
What has happened here tonight is deeply regrettable. Our party put forward a proposal to the Business Committee today to try to find a compromise between the legitimate requests for all of the Deputies to have an equal opportunity to speak in this Chamber. No matter what party one comes from, as a Teachta Dála for one's constituency, one has an equal right to have a say in this Chamber. We put forward a proposal that sought to strike a balance between that legitimate view and the current running order in place for Second Stage and Statements. We put that compromise proposal to the Business Committee today and, unfortunately, we have come to this.
What I was trying to do earlier was make a point of order to point that we have tabled an amendment to this motion, which is the compromise proposal from earlier. The smaller parties, in fairness, have also come forward with compromise proposals in their amendments. What has happened here tonight is deeply regrettable and it does not reflect well on any of us. We could have resolved it today at the Business Committee. I am sorry to be in this place and I hope that, when we come back in September, we can reflect on the need for all voices to be heard and for proportional speaking opportunities. I make the appeal at the eleventh hour to the Government to consider the amendments to the motion and to allow us to proceed on that basis.