Seanad debates

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I wish to move an amendment to the Order of Business to delete the motion relating to the sixth report of the Seanad Committee on Procedure and Privileges on Standing Order 45, which is scheduled to be considered without debate. I do so on the basis that this matter is one for which there was no adequate notice to my group of the proposal to further curtail the amount of time available to speakers on legislation. The effect of this motion is to reduce the amount of time for somebody proposing a Bill to eight minutes and other Members to five minutes. The proffered reasoning is that, in the past, inadequate time has been available for many speakers who wish to speak on Second Stage of legislation or on motions.Whatever about motions, Second Stage requires more than eight minutes for the proposer, especially when we accord to the Minister who frequently attends to reply to these debates up to 20 minutes or half an hour to respond to a legislative proposal. It does not allow the proponent of legislation to do what the Minister would do when introducing legislation in the House, namely, explain its contents or examine the arguments in any detail.

This is part of a pattern which is now emerging in the House of treating it with utter contempt. I do not have to remind the House that the late Senator W.B. Yeats made a speech about resisting the abolition of civil divorce in Ireland by parliamentary procedure, in which he reminded the Catholic majority that the Protestants in Ireland were no petty people.


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