Rebel TDs to be granted Dáil speaking rights
Fine Gael and Labour TDs who lost the party whip for voting against Government policies have been granted speaking rights in the Dáil.
Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett has told the TDs that time will be given to them to contribute to debates on government bills.
Last night the Ceann Comhairle wrote to the rebels to tell them that speaking slots would be reserved for them during debates on government business.
The change in the rules means that 15 TDs outside of the main parties or the technical group will still have a chance to discuss the Government's agenda.
It'll provide a boost to the 'Reform Alliance' of Fine Gael TDs, as well as the five deputies who were elected as Labour TDs but who are now outside the parliamentary party.
The allowance also applies to three independent TDs who didn't join the technical group, and to Peadar Toibin, who's serving a suspension from Sinn Féin.
However the changes won't give the rebels the right to question the Taoiseach or Tánaiste at Leaders' Questions - so they won't be given a direct chance to attack the government's leaders on a daily basis.
The news comes as TDs and Senators return to Leinster House this morning for the start of the new term.
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