Opposition challenges start of Dáil summer break

Thursday 17 July 2014 15.43
The Dáil is set to adjourn this evening until 17 September
The Dáil is set to adjourn this evening until 17 September

There has been a challenge to the Order of Business from Opposition benches over the planned adjournment of the Dáil this evening until September.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams placed a formal amendment to the Order of Business to set four hours aside tomorrow morning, to debate the Middle East.

The Ceann Comhairle, Seán Barrett, said an Opposition party could not make such an amendment.

Fianna Fáil supported the proposal and objected to the Order of Business seeking for the Dáil to rise today - reconvening on 17 September.

Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party also supported the Sinn Féin motion.

The Tánaiste said an extension was not acceptable.

Joan Burton said that the Minister for Foreign Affairs was available to attend the Foreign Affairs Committee tomorrow, if convened.

She pointed out that the number of sitting days under the first three years and four months of the current Government exceeded the previous Government by 100 days, in the same time frame.

Minister for Health accepts 'gagging' clause amendment

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar and Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch have accepted an amendment by Senator John Crown which prevents any 'gagging' clause from being included in contracts with GPs.

The Government recently suffered a defeat in the Seanad on the Bill providing for free GP care for children under six years of age.

Mr Crown moved an amendment to the Health (General Practitioner Service) Bill excluding any provision restricting criticism by a GP of the Health Service Executive or the Department of Health.

Mr Varadkar and Ms Lynch  described the passing of the Bill as a historic moment which paves the way to provide GP care without fees for children under six.

Steve McMahon of the Irish Patients Association welcomed the decision, particularly the removal of the proposed gagging clauses.

However, he said they would call for the removal of any similar gagging clauses that may be applied to other suppliers of services and staff within the HSE.

PAC to look at ways to increase its remit

The Public Accounts Committee has decided to look at ways to increase its remit and powers.

Its follows a decision by the Dáil Committee on Procedure and Privileges not to give it the power to compel former Rehab chief executives Angela Kerins and Frank Flannery to appear before it.

The PAC is to consult with its legal representatives and Oireachtas staff on ways to increase its remit and powers.

Keywords: dáil, gerry adams