Wednesday, 18 November 2020
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I refrained from interrupting during the previous debate. I second the proposals for adjournments or a 90-minute or one-hour period for the Seanad Bill. I second the proposals to oppose the taking of the proposed amendment to Standing Orders in respect of speaking times for Private Members' business. I believe that is a signal of intent from those who once sought to abolish this House and who now seek to cut away at it through a thousand cuts, specifically by cutting away the time for the proposal and seconding of Private Members' business, including legislation, by Senators. The Private Members' business slot is not simply a platform for making statements or attacking political rivals, it is also or putting forward legislation. It is good parliamentary practice that when legislation is put forward on Second Stage, all parts of the Bill are put forward by the proposer. That is not allowed for. I remind the House that at least three Private Members' Bills that came through this House became law during the lifetime of the previous Oireachtas. Private Members' business - and the legislation we put forward during the time allocated for it - is a meaningful process and not simply something to be chopped away at. The Government has a majority and can win votes. Please let it not also silence the voices of those in opposition who are putting things forward.