New motion will see smaller parties 'silenced' in Dáil debates

There is set to be a major row in the Dáil today over speaking time for smaller parties and groups.

The Social Democrats and Solidarity People Before Profit claim the government parties and Sinn Féin are trying to muzzle them by changing the Dáil's rules.

Chief whip Jack Chambers is proposing to amend debates to move some parties down the speaking order in favour of extra slots for the government and Sinn Féin.

He is arguing bigger parties need more speaking time - while those impacted say they are being shoved to the back of the queue to limit criticism of government policy.

Rise TD Paul Murphy says the new amendment is inherently unfair:

"With this proposal, before we get to speak the government will have had four bites of the cherry, four different speaking slots already and Sinn Féin also get four. That is why so far they have agreed with this proposal.

By the time it gets to the Independent group, the government and Sinn Féin have had seven speaking slots before an organised point of view will get a chance to put their position forward.

Leading the opposition

Speaking about the motion on Twitter, People before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett said the motion is "very disappointing" and that Sinn Féin are planning to "gang up" with the government and Labour to "gag" some of the smaller parties from speaking.

Meanwhile, Social Democrat TD, Gary Gannon said that Sinn Féin is trying to “lead the opposition” by pushing smaller parties to the back of the queue,

He also said "They will do so to the detriment of what has been a very effective Left block in the Dàil this term. We won’t be silenced, and are more than prepared to hold them to account if necessary."

Most Read in Ireland