Thursday, 14 June 2007
Allocation of Time: Motion
That, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders,
(i) the proceedings on No. 5, nomination of members of the Government, shall be brought to a conclusion at 8.15 p.m. and the following arrangements shall apply:
(a) the speech of the Taoiseach and of every leader of a party recognised as a group shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case;
(b) the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes in each case; and
(c) Members may share time;
(ii) until the Dáil shall otherwise order, the order in which questions to members of the Government, other than the Taoiseach, shall be asked in accordance with Standing Order 37(2) shall be that in which members of the Government will be listed in a resolution approving their nomination by the Taoiseach for appointment by the President; and
(iii) the Dáil on its rising today shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 26 June 2007.
It is not agreed. The Taoiseach has introduced a proposal to the House the outworking of which will prevent the party I represent from direct participation in the debate to take place. The use of the word "group" to signify those with more than seven Deputies and the fact that there is not now a technical group, the Taoiseach having hoovered up most of those who made it up over the past five years in constructing his new Government, means that the proposal before the House does not accommodate the Sinn Féin Deputies and Deputy Gregory.
I ask the Taoiseach, as I did earlier, to be fair, mindful and respectful of the mandate of each Deputy and to accord the opportunity to the Sinn Féin Deputies and Deputy Tony Gregory to participate in this debate. This is within the gift of the Taoiseach and the Chief Whip, whom I ask to indicate as I wish; otherwise, I will have to oppose the motion. I ask all fair-minded Deputies on the Government and Opposition benches to oppose the motion unless there is accommodation and respect for our right to have our voices and views heard. I ask the Taoiseach to respond favourably to this request.
The Deputy is right to say there has been a change in the groupings. I cannot, however, respond favourably to his request. Deputy Kenny's party has 51 Members, Deputy Rabbitte's party has 20 and my party has 78 so it cannot be done. Debates take place in this House in which Government and Opposition time can be shared but there is now no technical group so things cannot be done as they were in the last Dáil. That is the reality of the election result.