Three opposition parties have raised concerns about the capacity of the Dáil to deal with the high volume of legislation before it.

Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Labour have called for steps to be taken to deal with the growing backlog of Private Members' Bills.

Almost 200 such bills have been tabled since the Government was formed, 117 of these are still on the order paper of the Dáil.

Since the last election in 2016, just four opposition bills have being enacted, the most recent being legislation to allow the sale of alcohol on Good Friday.

Fianna Fáil Chief Whip Michael Moynihan said the amount of time required to clear the remaining backlog is probably not available to members of the current Dáil.

Labour Senator Ged Nash said the system has resulted in "irresponsible politicians drafting legislation that are really more akin to press statements".

He said some legislation is "more about making a point than making a difference" and often "looks like it has been written on the back of a bookies' docket".

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said his party is considering blocking Government legislation, unless efforts are made to facilitate more opposition bills.

There are 29 bills, which are deemed to incur a cost on the State, held up because they require the approval of the Taoiseach via a so called "money message".

So far, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has failed to grant approval in 27 such cases.

Mr Doherty said "it is an abuse of power, and anti-democratic" to block these bills.

"Why should we continue to facilitate Government legislation, while at the same time legislation which is properly drafted is being blocked because of the Taoiseach’s whims," he said.

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil yesterday that bills that incur a cost on the State are not being sanctioned because no budget has been provided for them.


Read more:

Legislative backlog making busy fools of our politicians


He also said there should be "equality of standards" between the Government and opposition on the quality of legislation being tabled.

"We shouldn't accept a lower standard of legislation from the opposition or from private members than we expect from our Government," he said.