Thursday, 1 April 2021
Gnó na Dála - Business of Dáil
Seán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
If I may make some comments, the members of the Committee on Dáil Reform and Business Committee know well my view on the changes that were effected to the speaking order, so I do not have to justify my views on that. Let us be frank, however. It was not Government speakers who were missing when the point was raised for the next speaker to be called yesterday. I further point out that between 2011 and 2016, I was Fianna Fáil Whip and effectively the Opposition Chief Whip. My role at the time included having a staff member to work with me to monitor the proceedings in the House to see how legislation was progressing. It was my responsibility and that of my staff member to get that right and ensure speakers were in the Chamber in time. All the groups in this House have Whips and, I believe, some staff support to do that job. I put it to the House that if Deputies were not here when business was being transacted, it was because the Whips and the Whip team were not doing the job the taxpayer is paying them to do. They should not blame anybody but themselves if they were not here when they should have been here.