Opposition TDs to have emergency judicial review hearing this afternoon

Two Opposition TDs have gone to the High Court to see an injunction against Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail over his decision to disallow a new bill due to be debated in the Dáil today.

Opposition TDs to have emergency judicial review hearing this afternoon

Update: Two Opposition TDs, Brid Smith and Paul Murphy, have been granted leave by the High Court for an emergency judicial review hearing this afternoon.

The TDs, along with Richard Boyd Barrett and Gino Kenny, went to the High Court this morning to seek leave to challenge a ruling by Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail which disallowed a bill of theirs due to be heard by the Dáil this afternoon.

Papers are currently being served on the Oireachtas Commission, headed by the Ceann Comhairle and a full hearing is scheduled for 2.30pm this afternoon.

Earlier: Opposition TDs seek injunction over decision to disallow new bill due to be debated in Dáil

Two Opposition TDs have gone to the High Court to seek an injunction against Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail over his decision to disallow a new bill due to be debated in the Dáil today.

Solidarity-People Before Profit TDs Brid Smith and Paul Murphy have taken the decision to take the action after the Ceann Comhairle shot down their bill seeking to change Dáil rules to allow more Opposition bills pass.

The TDs contend that more than 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.

However, the Opposition TDs say that Dáil Standing Orders go further than the Constitution and as a result the Government’s use of the so-called ‘money message’ has become an effective veto on many bills, even when they enjoy majority support in the chamber.

This morning, Ms Smith and Mr Murphy have headed to Court 6 in the High Court to seek an immediate injunction against the Ceann Comhairle who they have accused of over stepping the limits of his powers.

Meanwhile, the Dáil was suspended on Tuesday after Opposition TDs strongly objected to having their motion ruled out of order by Ceann Comhairle Sean O'Fearghail.

Solidarity-People Before Profit TDs Richard Boyd Barrett and Brid Smith railed at Mr O'Fearghail over his decision to rule their 'money-message' bill as not being compliant with the Constitution.

“Some 11 days ago, we submitted a motion to change Standing Orders, the rules of this House, to remove this blockage on all of those Bills and allow their passage through the House. Last night, however, we received a letter from the Ceann Comhairle, stating that we would not even be allowed to have our motion put on the Order Paper, never mind debate it or have it voted upon,” Mr Boyd Barrett said.

"We are now in uncharted territory because the Ceann Comhairle is now saying that a motion, which we submitted 11 days ago, that the Ceann Comhairle now will not allow on the Order Paper and which is due to be debated in the Dáil tomorrow, cannot be moved by us, debated or voted upon."

"That is sabotaging the right of TDs to put forward motions in this House. That is unacceptable,” he said.

Ms Smith said: “We are not going to sit here and take it. There will be no preamble and no referral to the Dáil reform committee. We have a right to put the motion. We submitted it 11 days ago. My office put a great deal of work into it, yet we were told 'end of' at 9 pm last night. I do not accept that.

"I was elected by the people of Dublin South-Central to represent their interests and I am going to stand here until I am allowed to do that. I do not accept being pushed around in this shoddy way. It is not me you are insulting, but the people of Ballyfermot, Drimnagh, Walkinstown and elsewhere. How dare the House do that?"

The Ceann Comhairle responded by telling Ms Smith: “Deputy, I admire your passion for the issue, but you are a little misguided. This is a constitutional assembly. We must have regard to the Constitution.”

During lengthy and tetchy exchanges, other Opposition TDs including Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin and Labour Leader Brendan Howlin raised concerns about the Government's use of the money message proviso to stymie legislation.

Again Mr O'Fearghail responded by saying his decision is fully in accordance with long-established rulings and parliamentary practice on the authority of the Chair to apply, interpret and rule on Standing Orders and matters of order generally.

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