Standing Orders: Motion

I move:

That in accordance with the recommendations under Standing Order 107(1)(a) of the Committee on Procedure, and with effect from 18th September 2018, the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business be amended as follows:

(a) in Standing Order 61—

(i) in paragraph (3), by the deletion of all words from 'If the defamatory nature' down to and including 'after the making of the utterance' and the substitution of the following:

'If the defamatory nature of the utterance is not apparent at the time during the course of proceedings, and at the earliest opportunity, but not later than six weeks after the making of the utterance, or by the time of the dissolution of the Dáil, whichever is the sooner—';

(ii) by the deletion of paragraph (5) and the substitution of the following:

'(5) In any report which it may make to the Dáil on a request, submission or referral under this Standing Order, the Committee may include a response by a person who has been referred to in the utterance by name, or in such a way as to be readily identifiable, and may make any of the following findings:

(a) that prima facie no abuse of privilege has occurred, in which case the Committee may recommend that no further action be taken by the Dáil or by the Committee in relation to the request, submission or referral; or

(b) that a member has made an utterance in the nature of being defamatory and that prima facie an abuse of privilege has occurred.

(5A) Where the Committee finds under paragraph (5)(b) that an abuse of privilege has occurred, the member who made the utterance is required to withdraw it during a meeting of the Dáil, by reading out the withdrawal in a form of words to be included in the report of the Committee, at any time before the end of a sitting day nominated by the Committee: Provided that the member shall arrange by agreement with the Ceann Comhairle the time on, or before, the nominated sitting day when the member shall make the withdrawal, and the Ceann Comhairle shall read out the Committee's finding on the utterance immediately prior to the withdrawal.

(5B) If the member does not withdraw his or her utterance in the manner outlined in paragraph (5A), the Ceann Comhairle shall, on the next sitting day after the nominated day, read out the Committee's finding on the utterance, and name the member in accordance with Standing Order 64(1).'; and

(iii) in paragraph (8)(a), by the deletion of 'in the case of a response by a person who made a submission' and the substitution of the following:

'in the case of a response under paragraph (5)';

(b) in Standing Order 62, by the insertion of the following paragraph after 'Standing Order 101(2).':

'(2) Nothing in this Standing Order, or in these Standing Orders generally, shall prevent the House from suspending a member from the service of the Dáil and its Committees in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 64(1).'; and

(c) in Standing Order 64—

(i) by the substitution of the following for paragraph (1):

'(1) (a) A member may be named by the Ceann Comhairle—

(i) where the member has disregarded the authority of the Chair, in the Dáil, or in Committee of the whole Dáil, (whereupon he or she shall be named immediately after the commission of such offence), or

(ii) where the member has not withdrawn an utterance found to be an abuse of privilege, pursuant to Standing Order 61(5A).

(b) Where the member has been named in accordance with paragraph (a), the Ceann Comhairle shall move and forthwith put the question on a motion — no amendment, adjournment or debate being allowed — “That............................... (naming the member) be suspended from the service of the Dáil and its Committees"; and on the declaration of the result the member may stand suspended and, if so, shall withdraw from the Dáil forthwith: Provided, on an exceptional basis, a division may be claimed on the question and, subject to paragraph (3), shall take place immediately, and the member shall be entitled to vote in any such division.';

(ii) by the substitution of the following for paragraph (2):

'(2) If any member hereafter be suspended under this Standing Order, his or her suspension—

(a) if it is pursuant to his or her having been named under paragraph (1)(a)(i), shall on the first occasion last for two sitting days, on the second occasion for four sitting days, and on the third or any subsequent occasion for eight sitting days, (with any suspension pursuant to the member having been named under paragraph (1)(a)(ii) not to be reckoned for the purposes of calculating the number of occasions); or

(b) if it is pursuant to his or her having been named under paragraph (1)(a)(ii), shall last for four sitting days;

Provided that—

(i) in any suspension under paragraph (a) or (b), the day on which the member is suspended shall be counted in calculating the number of days of suspension (subject to paragraph (ii) of this proviso);

(ii) where a member is suspended pursuant to having been named under paragraph (1)(a)(ii), while at the same time having been on suspension pursuant to having been named under paragraph (1)(a)(i), the member's two periods of suspension shall run consecutively, and paragraph (1) of this proviso shall apply only to the first period of suspension; and

(iii) where a member is suspended, this shall not prevent him or her entering the chamber solely for the purposes of withdrawing, in the manner outlined in Standing Order 61(5A), an utterance which has been found to be an abuse of privilege (subject to the provisions of paragraph (3) where he or she has been suspended pursuant to having been named under paragraph (1)(a)(ii)).';

(iii) in paragraph (3), by the deletion of all words from '(3) The Ceann Comhairle' down to and including 'lay the same before the Dáil, and' and by the substitution of the following:

'(3) The Ceann Comhairle, on the withdrawal by a member of his or her utterance in the manner outlined in Standing Order 61(5A) (where the member has been suspended pursuant to having been named under paragraph (1)(a)(ii)), or on receiving from a member a written and approved expression of regret, to be entered in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Dáil (where the member has been suspended pursuant to having been named under paragraph (1)(a)(i)), shall—

(a) in the case of the expression of regret, lay the same before the Dáil, and'; and

(iv) by the substitution of the following paragraph for paragraph (4):

'(4) The suspension from the service of the Dáil shall include suspension from service with any Standing, Select or Special Committee of the Dáil to which the member may have been appointed previous to, or during, his or her suspension.'.

Question put and agreed to.