Thursday, 8 October 2020
Sittings and Business of Dáil: Motion
That, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, or the Order of the Dáil of 10th September, 2020, and unless the Dáil shall otherwise order, the following arrangements shall apply in relation to the sittings of the Dáil on 13th, 14th and 15th October, 2020: (1) (i) the Dáil shall meet at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, and at 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday;(ii) on Wednesday, the Dáil shall adjourn not later than 10 p.m.;(2) in relation to the sitting of the Dáil on Tuesday, 13th October, 2020, the following arrangements shall apply:
(iii) on Thursday, the Dáil shall adjourn on the conclusion of topical issues;
(iv) the Dáil shall meet in the Convention Centre Dublin on Tuesday and in Leinster House on Wednesday;
(v) Leaders’ Questions within the meaning of Standing Order 36 shall not be taken on Tuesday, and on Wednesday and Thursday shall be taken as the second item of business after Oral Questions;
(vi) there shall be no Order of Business on Tuesday within the meaning of Standing Order 35;
(vii) within the meaning of Standing Order 35, there shall be no questions on promised legislation on Tuesday or Wednesday;
(viii) Oral Questions to a member of the Government under Standing Order 46(1)(b) shall be taken on Wednesday and Thursday at 10.30 a.m.; otherwise no Oral Questions under Standing Order 46(1) shall be taken: Provided that written questions under Standing Order 50(2) shall appear on the Order Paper and be answered in the normal way;
(ix) private members’ business shall not be taken;
(x) topical issues under Standing Order 37 shall not be taken on Tuesday or Wednesday and shall be taken on Thursday as the last item of business;
(xi) leave may not be sought under Standing Order 42 to adjourn the Dáil on a specific and important matter of public interest;
(xii) no Committee report shall be taken on Thursday evening under Standing Order 159(2);
(xiii) any divisions demanded on Tuesday shall be taken immediately;
(xiv) the weekly division time shall be taken on Tuesday night, as outlined in paragraph (2)(iii); and(i) the Dáil shall sit later than 11.17 p.m. and the motion for the General Financial Resolution shall be moved not later than 12 midnight; and(3) in relation to the sittings of the Dáil on Wednesday and Thursday, 14th October and 15th October, 2020, the following arrangements shall apply:
(ii) subject to subparagraph (iii), the business to be transacted shall be the Budget Statements and Financial Motions by Deputy Pascal Donohoe, Minister for Finance, and Deputy Michael McGrath, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and the following arrangements shall apply:(a) the Budget statements of Minister Donohoe and Minister McGrath shall not exceed 45 minutes each;(iii) upon the moving of the General Financial Resolution, the Motion re the National Surplus (Reserve Fund for Exceptional Contingencies) Act 2019 shall be taken without debate, immediately followed by the weekly division time, and the Dáil shall adjourn forthwith, either on the conclusion of proceedings on the Motion re the National Surplus (Reserve Fund for Exceptional Contingencies) Act 2019, or on the conclusion of the weekly division time, as appropriate; and
(b) following the Budget statements of the Ministers, statements may be made by the spokespersons on Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform for the parties and groups in Opposition in the following order and in accordance with the following arrangements:— Sinn Féin – not exceeding 60 minutes in the aggregate, andand all members may share their time; and
— the Labour Party, Social Democrats, Solidarity-People Before Profit, the Regional Group, the Rural Independent Group, and the Independent Group – not exceeding 45 minutes in the aggregate each,
(c) following the statements, the sitting shall be suspended for 30 minutes, and on the resumption of the sitting, a Minister or Minister of State shall move an allocation of time motion for the Financial Motions; and(i) the 20-minute sanitisation SOS’s shall take place—(a) on Wednesday, immediately following Leaders’ Questions and the Labour Party Leader’s statement, and(ii) the business to be transacted shall be the business outlined in this Resolution along with the resumed debate on the General Financial Resolution, to which the following arrangements shall apply:
(b) on Thursday, immediately following Questions on Promised Legislation, and at 4 p.m.;(a) on Wednesday—(I) following the sanitisation SOS after Leaders’ Questions, Leaders’ speeches shall be taken, in the following order and in accordance with the following arrangements:(b) on Wednesday and Thursday—— Taoiseach and Tánaiste — not exceeding 30 minutes each;and all members may share time; and
— Green Party — not exceeding 20 minutes;
— Sinn Féin — not exceeding 30 minutes;
— the Labour Party — not exceeding 15 minutes;
— (following the sanitisation SOS) Social Democrats, Solidarity-People Before Profit, the Regional Group, the Rural Independent Group, and the Independent Group – not exceeding 15 minutes each,
(II) the suspension of sitting under Standing Order 25(1) shall take place on the conclusion of Leaders’ speeches, and shall continue until 5.30 p.m.; and(I) apart from the Leaders’ speeches, the resumed debate on the General Financial Resolution shall be conducted in 100-minute speaking rounds, in accordance with the arrangements contained in the report of the Committee on Standing Orders and Dáil Reform adopted by Order of the Dáil on 30th July, 2020; and
(II) when there are no further members offering, the debate shall adjourn, and, in any event, on Thursday 15th October, 2020, the debate shall adjourn not later than 4 p.m.
Regarding Wednesday's proposal, our party cannot accept the schedule for leaders' statements as laid out - the Taoiseach at 30 minutes, the Tánaiste at 30 minutes and the Green Party at 20 minutes, which is a run of an hour and 20 minutes. We again propose that their contributions be interspersed. It is in the public interest to have back and forth. We propose that the schedule be the Taoiseach at 30 minutes, Sinn Féin at 30 minutes, the Tánaiste at 30 minutes, the Labour Party at 15 minutes, the Green Party at 20 minutes, the Social Democrats at 15 minutes and so on. We feel strongly about this and I put it to the Government to agree.
The tradition is that Government representatives in a coalition speak on budget day after the budget. This schedule is not breaking with that tradition. We have a three-party Government and the schedule is not unreasonable at all. It is the custom of the House and to depart from it would be unprecedented.
My understanding is that, historically, we would not have a Government slot of an hour and 20 minutes for leaders' statements. It would be a very long time before the Opposition could respond. It is too long and unwieldy. I ask that the Government reconsider.
This is a three-party coalition, which is an unusual situation. However, there is adequate time for the Opposition parties to respond. There will also be loads of time next week for the Opposition to go through the budget with a fine-tooth comb and speak about all of the budget's various elements. The schedule is not unreasonable. The people watching want to see both sides of the argument; they want to see what the Government is proposing and how the Opposition responds to the budget. This schedule is the Government's proposal, which is very much in keeping with tradition.
James Browne, Richard Bruton, Colm Burke, Dara Calleary, Seán Canney, Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, Jack Chambers, Cathal Crowe, Bernard Durkan, Damien English, Joe Flaherty, Noel Grealish, Brendan Griffin, Seán Haughey, Emer Higgins, James Lawless, Brian Leddin, Josepha Madigan, Steven Matthews, Eoghan Murphy, Darragh O'Brien, Fergus O'Dowd, Marc Ó Cathasaigh, Brendan Smith, Robert Troy.
Richard Boyd Barrett, David Cullinane, Pa Daly, Mairead Farrell, Gary Gannon, Johnny Guirke, Marian Harkin, Michael Healy-Rae, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, Denise Mitchell, Cian O'Callaghan, Richard O'Donoghue, Louise O'Reilly, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Ruairi Ó Murchú, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Thomas Pringle, Duncan Smith.