Dáil row brewing over 'gag' of smaller parties

Dáil row brewing over 'gag' of smaller parties
Government Chief Whip Jack Chambers, Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The larger parties in the Dáil will succeed in a power grab for speaking time today robbing smaller parties of a voice during debates.

The Government Chief Whip Jack Chambers is on a collision course with the Opposition as he is seeking to reduce speaking time for smaller groups and independents in the Dáil.

The three government parties are being supported by Sinn Féin in this proposal, which will ensure its safe passage.

Under controversial plans to be voted on in the Dáil today, the plan would see smaller parties and independent TDs cease to have the right to speak during the opening round of debates.

Smaller Dáil groups are already crying foul with People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett describing the move as “very disappointing”.

He hit out at Sinn Féin’s decision to “gang up” with the Government to ram through the motion with no debate to “gag” smaller left wing parties and independents.

“Serious attack by government on opposition rights, shocking SF supporting this,” he said on Twitter.

Gary Gannon, Dublin Central TD for the Social Democrats also hit out at the move by Sinn Féin to “silence” the left.

“If Sinn Fein intend to lead the opposition by pushing us to the back of the queue, they’ll do so to the detriment of what has been a very effective Left block in the Dáil this term. We won’t be silenced, and are more than prepared to hold them to account,” he said. 

“And if you’re wondering why I’m calling Sinn Féin out here and not Labour – it’s that I didn’t really have any expectation that Labour would behave any differently under its current leadership,” Mr Gannon said in relation to Alan Kelly.

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