"That, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business are hereby amended by–
Standing Order 26
(a) the adoption of the following in substitution for Standing Order 26 of the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business:
‘26. (1) Every sitting of the Dáil shall be governed by a printed Order Paper which shall be prepared under the direction of the Ceann Comhairle.
(2)(a) Subject to paragraph (b) the Taoiseach shall have the right to determine the order in which Government business shall appear on the Order Paper and, by announcement, the order in which it shall be taken each day; and may propose, on motion made without notice, arrangements for sittings and for the taking of such business until such business has been disposed of; save where any such proposal is opposed, the Ceann Comhairle shall permit a brief statement from a representative from each party in opposition and the Taoiseach before he or she puts the question thereon. Provided that where a second or subsequent division is demanded on any such proposals on the Order of Business, the period for which the division bells shall ring and the interval between the ringing of the bells and the locking of the doors shall be not less than two minutes and not less than one minute, respectively.
(b) Any announcement made by the Taoiseach under paragraph (a) shall be made:
(i) on Tuesdays, immediately following Leaders' Questions,
(ii) on Wednesdays, immediately following Oral Questions to the Taoiseach, and
(iii) on Thursdays, at the commencement of Public Business.
(3) Following the announcement by the Taoiseach and the disposal of any motion comprehended by paragraph (2), the Ceann Comhairle may permit, at his or her discretion, questions to the Taoiseach about business on the Order Paper; about the taking of business which has been promised, including legislation promised either within or outside the Dáil; about the making of secondary legislation; about arrangements for sittings; and as to when Bills or other documents on the Order Paper needed in the House will be circulated: Provided that, the Taoiseach may defer replying to a question relating to the making of secondary legislation to another day.
(4) For the purposes of this Standing Order, a member of the Government or the Government Chief Whip may on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and shall on Thursdays ordinarily exercise the powers conferred upon the Taoiseach.'
Standing Order 26A
(b) the adoption of the following as an additional Standing Order of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business:
‘26A.(a) At the commencement of Public Business on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the Ceann Comhairle may permit, at his or her discretion, a brief question not exceeding two minutes from each Leader in Opposition to the Taoiseach about a matter of topical public importance and in respect of which the following arrangements shall apply:
(i) the Taoiseach shall be called upon to reply for a period not exceeding three minutes,
(ii) the Leader in Opposition who asked the original question may then ask a brief supplementary question not exceeding one minute,
(iii) the Taoiseach shall then be called upon to reply in conclusion for a period not exceeding one minute.
(b) The total time allowed for Leaders' Questions on any given day under this Standing Order shall not exceed twenty-one minutes and the Taoiseach may nominate another member of the Government to take Leaders Questions in his or her absence.
(c) In this Standing Order, “Leader in Opposition” means the leader of a group as defined in Standing Order 114(1):
Provided that the Leader of a party which is a group under Standing Order 114(1)(a) shall have precedence over the designated Leader of a group recognised under paragraph (1)(b) of that Standing Order.'
Standing Order 31
(c) the deletion, in Standing Order 31(2), of ‘at the commencement of Public Business' and the substitution therefor of ‘immediately before the Order of Business'.
Standing Order 35
(d) the adoption of the following in substitution for Standing Order 35 of the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business:
‘35. (1) Unless the Dáil shall otherwise order on motion made by a member of the Government or Minister of State–
(a) Questions for oral answer to the Taoiseach shall be taken–
(i) from 2.30 p.m. to 3.15 p.m. on Tuesdays, and
(ii) following Leaders Questions on Wednesdays for a period not exceeding forty-five minutes.
(b) Questions for oral answer to other members of the Government shall be taken–
(i) from 3.15 p.m. to 4.15 p.m. on Tuesdays,
(ii) from 2.30 p.m. to 3.45 p.m. on Wednesdays, and
(iii) from 3.30 p.m. to 4.45 p.m. on Thursdays:
Provided that Questions asked on private notice may be taken by permission of the Ceann Comhairle and shall be asked immediately after the Order of Business on Tuesdays, immediately after other Questions have been taken on Wednesdays, and during the last thirty minutes of the time allowed for the taking of Questions on Thursdays (and the taking of Questions shall not resume thereafter).
(2) The time allowed for Questions, other than Questions to the Taoiseach [S.O. 36] and Questions nominated for priority [S.O. 38], shall not exceed thirty minutes on Tuesdays and forty-five minutes on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the time allowed for Questions nominated for priority for any one day shall not exceed thirty minutes.'
Standing Order 38
(e) the addition of the following Proviso to paragraph (1)(iv) of Standing Order 38 of the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business–
‘Provided that a party which is a group under Standing Order 114(1)(a) shall have precedence over a group recognised under paragraph (1)(b) of that Standing Order.'
Standing Order 114
(f) the addition of the following Proviso to paragraph (5) of Standing Order 114 of the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business–
‘Provided that a party which is a group under paragraph (1)(a) shall have precedence over a group recognised under paragraph (1)(b).'
Standing Order 119
(g) the addition of the following Proviso to paragraph (3) of Standing Order 119 of the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business–
‘Provided that for the purposes of this Standing Order a party which is a group under Standing Order 114(1)(a) shall have precedence over a group recognised under paragraph (1)(b) of that Standing Order.'.”
In moving these motions today I am conscious that the development of our parliamentary democracy has grown and developed and led to the successful governance of countries through the growth of political parties. It is those political parties who go before the electorate with one voice, joint policies and an identified philosophy. The public know for whom they are voting and know the type of policies that will be implemented in Government.
Over the last hundred years democracy and the public have benefited from the fact that political parties, in a number of different countries, have grown and that is why they are so successful in the Dáil. Parties who presented themselves to the electorate in June this year were returned in strong numbers. The larger political parties have 81, 31 or 21 Members while smaller political parties have eight, six or five Members. The recognition of those parties is something that should survive in this Dáil. The public knew what it was voting for and voted for those groups and that those parties should be given priority. Of course every Member of the Dáil is entitled to his or her rights as is every one of the smaller groups.