Seanad debates

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I read the speech and I think it took approximately 20 minutes to deliver, and he was frequently interrupted. Our procedures now are such that we are reducing ourselves to almost the status of old-fashioned telegram boys. We are not debating things seriously or providing for serious debate. We are reducing the role of the House as a legislative organ, especially in respect of legislation, to practically nothing.

The Leader should remember that this House is under stress due to Covid, but its function is not suspended by Covid. If there is inadequate time for people to contribute to Private Members' business, there is plenty of scope for the Leader to extend the time for Private Members' business and allow Members to contribute for a longer period.

We are reduced to statements on issues when there is no legislative load coming to the House from the Government. The time has come to take a stance, not for the dignity of the House but for the essential democratic function of the House, to say that we will not accept this reduction in speaking time and slots to practically meaningless proportions just because it suits the Executive of the State.


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