Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Ceisteanna - Questions
Yesterday, as the Ceann Comhairle knows, there was an exchange about the Taoiseach and his staff and how they have been seeking systematically to have questions transferred, disallowed or grouped in such a way as to deny us the opportunity to ask, for example, what Standing Order applies to this area. The relevant Standing Order refers to public affairs connected with the Taoiseach's Department or to matters of administration for which he is officially responsible.
There is a major concern because my office sought to appeal a series of disallowances and transfers but was informed it could not do so. In most cases, there had been contact between the Department of the Taoiseach and the questions office but Deputies asking questions had no right to express their opinion. With regard to disallowed questions, the Taoiseach has the final say, which I acknowledge, but it is often the Taoiseach's staff who suggest the grounds for disallowing a question.
There was no question tabled about this individual on 6 July, yet my question was disallowed because of repetition. There was no question asked about Lorenzo Bini Smaghi. I have checked the record for 6 July.
This is a very serious issue. What is occurring is not on. What is happening is that the accountability of the Head of Government, who is accountable to the Dáil, is being undermined systematically.
I have told the Deputy what to do. He can either come to my office, where I will only be too delighted to discuss any individual question with him, or he can ask his Whip to have this matter dealt with by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.