Ceann Comhairle granted non-aligned TDs speaking time in Dáil to uphold principle

Monday 23 September 2013 13.24
Sean Barrett said there are a growing number of non-aligned TDs and a structure had to be put in place
Sean Barrett said there are a growing number of non-aligned TDs and a structure had to be put in place

Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett has said he has granted non-aligned TDs speaking time in the Dáil to uphold a principle that all TDs elected by the people have a right to speak in the Dáil.

Speaking on RTÉ's The Week in Politics, Mr Barrett said there are a growing number of non-aligned TDs and a structure had to be put in place to ensure they got speaking time.

He also called for more consultation with the Committee on Procedures and Privileges on Dáil reform.

Mr Barrett confirmed that he was not consulted prior to the publication of the Government's latest reform plans.

But he said it should be possible to implement them by October if there is proper preparation.

Mr Barrett said Oireachtas Committees must get more resources including back-up staff if they are going to play a greater role in the parliament.

The Ceann Comhairle also advocated a shorter question time for ministers with TDs' queries selected on the day.

This could yield up to 15 answers he said and would bring life back into Question Time.

However, this plan was criticised by Fianna Fáil's Sean Fleming who said it would give more time to government TDs and reduce the Opposition's chances of getting answers from ministers.