Four TDs launch High Court challenge against decision not to allow new bill on Dáil rules to be debated

Four TDs launch High Court challenge against decision not to allow new bill on Dáil rules to be debated
Brid Smith and Richard Boyd Barrett are among the four TDs bringing the case. File photo.

Four TDs have brought a High Court challenge in a row over Dáil rules.

They have mounted the legal action against the Ceann Comhairle's decision not to allow a new bill on Dáil rules to be debated.

The action has been brought by opposition TDs Brid Smith, Richard Boyd Barrett, Gino Kenny and Paul Murphy against the Ceann Comhairle Mr Sean O Fearghail.

The four have commenced judicial review proceedings arising out of attempts to bring forward their bill seeking to change Dáil rules to allow more Opposition bills pass.

The TDs argue that over 50 Opposition bills have been blocked by the Government which has used a Constitutional provision that only the Government can progress bills which have a potential financial impact on the State’s finances.

Their action came before Mr Justice Garrett Simons this morning. He directed the application for permission to bring their challenge before the courts be heard in the presence of lawyers for the Ceann Comhairle.

The judge adjourned the matter to 2.30pm this afternoon.

Represented in court by John Rogers SC, the four TDs seek an order quashing a decision made by the Ceann Comhairle on Monday to refuse to place a motion submitted by Deputy Smith on the Order Paper of Dáil Éireann.

They seek a temporary order from the court requiring the Ceann Comhairle to suspend the effect of his refusal and to restore the motion to the order paper.

The TD also seek various declarations including that the Ceann Comhairle acted outside of his powers by failing to place the motion on the order paper, that the TDs are entitled to have the motion appear on the order paper so the motion can be debated in the Dáil.

They further seek declarations that the refusal breached their constitutional rights and their rights under the European Convention of Human Rights.

Mr Rogers told the court it is his client's case that the Ceann Comhairle's decision has the effect of preventing a debate in the Dáil which is of profound importance to them.

Mr Justice Simons after hearing submissions from counsel said he was prepared to adjourn the matter to this afternoon, to allow the application for leave to bring the challenge on notice to the Ceann Comhairle.

The Judge said he was not making any findings at this stage of the proceedings and in particular if this was one of those rare cases where a matter before the Dáil can be interfered with by the courts.

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