An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

The House has agreed that for the duration of the Covid-19 emergency only, the rapporteur's report of the Order of Business shall not be read out but shall be taken as read. There are three proposals to be put to the House. Is proposal No. 1 for dealing with Tuesday’s business agreed to? It is not agreed.

It is not agreed. Can I propose that sometime before the end of the week the Minister for Justice comes and gives a statement to the House on the advice that she receives from the Attorney General as to the crisis in the Judiciary? It is important that we build maximum consensus among all parties and groupings in this House to try to find a way forward through this.

It would be appropriate also if the Taoiseach were to organise a meeting of the party leaders and the group leaders in order to brief everybody and ensure that we are all on the same page and can work together to find a solution to this particular situation.

I am conscious of what the Ceann Comhairle said at the commencement of these proceedings. I might have been anticipating a question on this issue during Leaders' Questions but it did not materialise for understandable reasons, to be fair. It would be my intention to seek a meeting with party leaders at which we could jointly assess the situation without prejudice. I am mindful of comments that were made by representatives of different parties this morning in a constructive vein. This is a very serious issue. It is fundamental to the separation of powers and is at the very heart of our Constitution so we have to respond in a very serious, sensitive and proper way. I suggest that the first step in this regard would be a meeting with the party leaders to assess what has happened and discuss how to deal with it.

If anybody is indicating, it is one person from each grouping and it is the Order of Business for today. I call Deputy Catherine Murphy.

It was said earlier but I want to put down a marker in respect of the way the rotation of speaking time happens. Five minutes on a motion of confidence is just not on. The Taoiseach would not have accepted it in the previous Dáil or in the prior one when he was treated very differently from the way we are being treated in this Dáil. That simply has to be looked at. It is not acceptable. We are here to hold the Government to account. The Taoiseach has previously spoken about the importance of having a good Opposition as well as a good Government. This is not the way to conduct business and it reflects really badly on the Government.

I thank the Taoiseach for agreeing to brief the party leaders on a delicate and sensitive issue regarding the Judiciary. We will commit to do our best to resolve it amicably and on a uniform basis across the House if we can. I accept the words of the Ceann Comhairle earlier that we have to be mindful of what we say. I support Deputy Catherine Murphy's claim. It is ridiculous and patently unfair that groups will end up with five minutes speaking time on an important motion such as the one that is coming up. It is not right or acceptable and it should not be happening.

Is the proposal for dealing with Tuesday's business agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Wednesday's business agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Thursday's business agreed to? Agreed.