Dáil business abandoned as three Independent TDs suspended

Session earlier adjourned several times amid row over speaking rights

Dáil business was abandoned after a row over speaking rights. Video: Oireachtas

 

Business was abandoned for the day in the Dáil this afternoon following a row over speaking rights during which three TDs were suspended.

The Dáil was adjourned a number of times for almost an hour in total and then Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett expelled Kildare North Independent TD Catherine Murphy, followed by Waterford deputy John Halligan and then Thomas Pringle. Votes were taken on each suspension.

Dublin North Central TD Finian McGrath was about to be expelled when Mr Barrett said he was suspending proceedings for the day due to the “ongoing disruption” by members of the technical group.

The row continued for more than two hours in an ongoing dispute over speaking times for former members of Fine Gael, now deemed part of the technical group. This would mean more TDs sharing the same amount of speaking time.

Ms Murphy first raised the issue when she said she had received a letter from the Ceann Comhairle that if certain members of the technical group were not listed for speaking time in the chamber, he may call on them to speak.

Ms Murphy asked: “Are you going to administer the entire technical group?”

Mr Barrett replied: “No.”

Mr Barrett said it was not a matter for the Order of Business but Ms Murphy said the group had received legal advice from a senior counsel which conflicted with the Ceann Comhairle’s about the inclusion in the technical group of former members of a political party.