5 Aib 2016, 18.06
The Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Dáil Reform, which has been tasked with agreeing a programme of reforms for how the Dáil will operate, today, Tuesday, 5th April 2016 agreed a number of proposals to amend parliamentary procedures.
The proposals will be submitted in an interim report to the Dáil tomorrow, Wednesday, 6th April in time for the debate on Dáil reform.
The proposals agreed by the Sub-Committee are:
• The establishment of a business committee responsible for the scheduling and timetabling of Dáil business, in particular the division of the available Dáil time between Government and Opposition on a 60/40 basis;
• Rules governing technical groups allowing for more than one technical group and fewer members to form a technical group, while allocating speaking time on a proportional basis;
• Provision for dedicated Committee time to avoid crossover with Dáil time;
• Votes to be taken at a fixed time instead of at various times throughout the day and provision to allow for formal abstentions in votes.
• Provision for an appeal to the Ceann Comhairle in relation to the adequacy of a Ministerial reply to parliamentary and/or topical issues.
Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, Chairman of the Sub-Committee, said: “Today the Sub-Committee agreed a number of measures to improve and strengthen our parliamentary procedures and give more powers to the parliament and Members. The division of Dáil time has been agreed to give more time to Opposition Members while recognising the need for Government to progress its legislative programme.
“These proposals will be contained in an interim report which will be submitted to the Dáil tomorrow in time for, and to help inform, the debate on Dáil reform. I’m delighted that we could get agreement on these important reforms and I’d like to thank all of the Members involved in our meeting today for their input. As Ceann Comhairle and Chair of this Sub-Committee on Dáil Reform, I personally am fully committed to overseeing that crucial task of reforming how our parliament does its business.”
The Sub-Committee will meet again tomorrow, Wednesday 6th April 2016 to consider further proposals in its work programme, including restructuring of the Order of Business; the structure and timing of Parliamentary Questions; Government time vs Private Members’ Business; Friday sittings; and proposals on family friendly hours.
On 13th April, the Sub-Committee will consider Committees and financial scrutiny matters.
On 20th April, it will consider scheduling of legislation.
The Sub-Committee will meet on 27th April to agree its final report to the Dáil.
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