Thursday, 1 April 2021
Gnó na Dála - Business of Dáil
Richard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
I point out that the reason we have to change the order today is due to events last night when speakers did not show up and the debate on the Public Service Pay Bill fell, even though many of the groupings in the House did not get to speak once on that very important legislation. That is a disgrace. I commend Deputy Duncan Smith from the Labour Party on making apologies for Deputy Nash not being here for his slot. However, the truth is there were nine ten-minute slots, including two Government slots, before our slot and many other Deputies who did not get to speak. Deputies who fully expected to speak on the Bill today and could not possibly have imagined they would be required to speak last night have now lost the opportunity to speak on the Public Service Pay Bill. That is outrageous and it is a direct consequence of something we warned against when the Government changed the speaking order to have multiple Government slots punctuating it before most of the party and other groups get to speak. We told the Government this would happen. It has happened again and again and now it has happened on legislation as important as the Public Service Pay Bill just because the Government wants to drown out the voices of party groups. It is now seriously disrupting the ability of this House to do its legislative business. I want to signal that. This situation cannot persist. The Government has been smirking behind the scenes about how it has essentially drowned out the Opposition. We said this would happen and it has happened again.
We asked for more time to discuss the scandal of the HSE keeping secret files on vulnerable children and families. We now have extra time. To make up for what it did last night and the consequences of its actions, the Government should give us additional time to discuss the Department of Health and HSE scandal of keeping secret files on families.