Politicians have voted to begin their six week Dáil summer break immediately, and not return for an emergency debate on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment next week.

In a late night sitting, the Dáil was also adjourned twice after heated debate on plans to change party speaking time rules.

A Sinn Féin request for an emergency debate next week on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment was rejected last night with the support of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Green Party and six regional independent TDs.

Opposition parties sought a debate on the changes, saying they will silence smaller parties by reducing their speaking time.

However, Government rejected the claim, with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar saying he was "embarrassed" by the exchanges and accused smaller parties of bullying.

After losing a vote to allow a debate on the issue by 86 votes to 63, TDs from Solidarity-People Before Profit, the Social Democrats, Labour and some independents walked out in protest - resulting in the speaking time rule changes passing without a vote.

The Dáil is not scheduled to sit again until 15 September.

Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, Employment and Workers Rights Louise O'Reilly had called for the Dáil to be recalled next week.

"There are many questions which need to be answered about this situation and it cannot be let slide off the agenda due to the Dáil recess."

She said it was imperative that Mr Vardakar and Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys answer questions in the Dáil about the PUP "given the serious nature of this matter, and the doubts cast on the legality of the action" by the Data Protection Commissioner.

Labour's spokesperson on Education, Enterprise and Trade, Aodhan Ó Ríordáin echoed the view, saying questions remain over the Pandemic Unemployment Payment "foul up".

He said that a "steady stream of people have come to us who had their PUP unfairly cut even though they had earned above the threshold. This is a complete mess and we suspect there may be thousands affected.

"The Dáil needs to be recalled next week and the Government must correct this and to allow applicants to combine PAYE and self-employed earnings to qualify for PUP and to end this discrimination against arts and other workers who have a mix of PAYE and self-employed jobs."