Business of Dáil.

Before calling on Deputy Kenny to move the motions re by-election writs in Dublin South and Dublin Central, I wish to make a brief statement about the application of the repeat rule and motions to issue by-election writs. Members will be aware that a similar motion in respect of the Dublin South vacancy was defeated in the Dáil on 3 February last, 12 weeks ago to the day. Under Standing Order 56, the six-month repeat rule does not apply to a motion to issue a by-election writ, and I have a discretion to apply a shorter period in accordance with established practice. This is a 2.5-month period or ten weeks, as was applied in 1964 and November 1981. However, due to the fact the waiving of the six month repeat rule is in Standing Orders since 1995, I have had to examine these precedents in light of a similar motion being moved again today. I take the view that the motion to issue the by-election writ for Dublin South is in order at this time and that, generally, the two and a half month precedent is reasonable and could be applied in the future unless there has been a significant change in events in the interim which would warrant the moving of such a motion within a shorter timeframe. Therefore, as it stands, it would be possible to move these motions again should they be defeated today in two and a half months, or ten weeks' time.

On a point of order, why are Independent Deputies excluded from speaking on the Dublin Central by-election given the seat was held by the late Tony Gregory? It is very unfair and unjust that Independent Members are not allowed to speak given the seat was held by an Independent Member of this House. It is a disgrace that the major political parties made that decision.

The Chair is bound by an order of the House which was made on this day. That specifies who the speakers may be. I have no discretion in the matter.