Business of Dáil: Motion.

I move:

That, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders and the Order of the Dáil of this day, statements regarding hepatitis C legal action shall take place now.

The following arrangements shall apply: (1) the statements, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 4.45 p.m. and the order shall not resume thereafter; (2) statements shall be confined to the Minister for Health and to the main spokespersons of the Fianna Fáil and Progressive Democrats parties and shall not exceed ten minutes in each case; (3) following the statements the Minister for Health shall take questions.

It has been the understanding that, in the course of question and answer sessions, party spokespersons on the Opposition side of the House or persons nominated by them will put the questions to the Minister. That understanding should be regularised by the House. There have been efforts in the past to filibuster the question and answer sessions and that is not the spirit with which such sessions were established.

I appreciate the spirit of the Deputy's comments. However, to enshrine such a proviso would interfere with the rights of individual Members of the House, such as Independent Members who are not designated as spokespersons in their own right. On the one hand we must ensure the maximum benefit in terms of what the debate will yield while, on the other hand, protect the individual privilege of Members of the House to participate in question and answer sessions.

Question put and agreed to.