Wednesday, 12 March 2003
Order of Business.
Joe O'Toole (Independent)
That is very helpful. Although I would have much preferred to move the motion and may do so at another time, it is crucially important for fair-minded and serious legislators and public representatives on all sides of the House to have the opportunity of stating their views as to whether we should engage in deep legislative consideration without having access to information. Undoubtedly, any examination of events over these three days will show that serious attempts were made to ensure that the Information Commissioner did not influence the outcome of these discussions.
The issue of whether the commissioner's action yesterday was acceptable to Government is separate. The fact is that he was not going to be consulted in the first instance. It is unacceptable that a major change to the way the House does its business should be instituted without consultation. This is outrageous and we cannot proceed on that basis.
In deference to the Leas-Chathaoirleach, I will not challenge the ruling of the Chair for a second day in succession. Yesterday, it was decided that amendments would not be taken due to lack of time, despite the fact that we were in negotiation on a Bill when there was information in our pigeon-holes which even the Minister of State and the Department did not possess. How will anybody explain this to their children who may be working on a history thesis 20 years from now? Good luck to them.