CEANN Comhairle Sean Barrett has changed Dail rules to give TDs who lost the Fine Gael and Labour whips more speaking time.
In a remarkable move, that is being seen by some as a snub to the Government, Mr Barrett has agreed to give the TDs speaking slots in the Dail.
The ‘Reform Alliance’ group of Fine Gael rebels, including Lucinda Creighton, tweeted last night that they welcomed the changes “allowing all non-aligned TDs to avail of speaking rights in debates”.
The changes are understood to be most radical the Ceann Comhairle could achieve on his own, coming after the Coalition ignored requests from Fine Gael and Labour TDs for greater speaking rights.
A Government source said: “This is the most he (Mr Barrett) can do, he would see this as win”.
An email to TDs from an Oireachtas official last night read: "I am instructed by the Ceann Comhairle to inform you that... on government business, some speaking slots for 'others' will be incorporated in the rotation of Dail speakers, after the initial spokespersons round.
“These ‘others' slots are intended for use by members who do not have access to the speakers lists prepared by the parties or the Technical Group.”
Mr Barrett’s move comes weeks after a furious row erupted between him, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin over how fill a vacancy left by the retirement of the chief civil servant in the Houses of the Oireachtas.