News & Media

Dáil Reform ended tonight as Government took back control

30 July 2020

Statement by Duncan Smith TD
Party Whip and Spokesperson on Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport.
  • new Taoiseach committed to end Government control of Dáil in 2016 but has now reversed the reforms he once sought.

Labour Party whip Duncan Smith responding to the return of a majoritarian approach to the ordering of Dáil business by the three party coalition government said:

“New politics died tonight. The Government has taken back full control of the Dáil. Under the sensible and reasonable alternative speaking proposals we tabled and supported tonight, proportionality would have been kept and scheduling would have been as it was before. All TDs would have had time to speak.

“The business committee and Dáil reform committee may as well not exist now. Up to now they worked well on the basis of consensus but that is now over because of the actions of the Government.

“The recently elected Taoiseach committed to end Government control of Dáil in 2016 but he has now reversed the reforms he demanded then.

“In 2016 after the February general election the now Taoiseach Micheál Martin issued a statement saying ‘we believe that the new Dáil should not represent more business as usual - that it should involve a decisive more towards a reformed politics’. He then went on to say ‘we believe that the opportunity to implement meaningful reform of the working of Dáil Éireann should be taken now and cross-Dáil agreement on reforms reached’.

“The now Taoiseach said at the time one of the core elements of Dáil reform should be a major limit on ability of government to control all business on an ongoing basis’. Those words are now empty as the first meaningful act of changes to the running of the Dáil under his government is to reorder the speaking order for smaller groups and abandon the landmark reform that was the Business Committee.”