Sunday 18 February 2018

Ceann Comhairle: Opposition has a right to question decision to block Dail debate

Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett,
Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett,
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett says he accepts the right of the Opposition to question his decision to block a Dail debate.

Mr Barrett has released a statement on the controversy - which has left the future of his position in doubt. 

But the Chairman of the Dail stopped short of withdrawing his claim that Fianna Fáil and Sinn Fein are "out to get me".

"In relation to my interview with RTE on Friday last, perhaps in the heat of the moment during that interview I may have given the impression that the opposition were not entitled to question my decision as to why a Debate was not allowed," the statement said.

"Of course I accept that they are entitled to question my decision.  However, I will state that I made the decision after careful consideration in the best interest of the Oireachtas and the taxpayer."

The Tanaiste today welcomed the statement from the Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett in response to the escalating row over his decision last week not to grant a Dail debate on the establishment of an inquiry into garda malpractice.

The Ceann Comhairle, who faces a no-confidence motion put down by Fianna Fail, said in a statement that he accepted the opposition “are entitled to question my decision”.

Speaking in Templemore today, the Tanaiste Joan Burton said: “I think it’s good that he has very much put on the record his very strong appreciation of the role of the opposition in raising matters on the floor of the Dail and being able to debate them in full. That’s extremely welcome,” she said. “Obviously the Ceann Comhairle has to arrive at his rulings, and it’s nothing to do with the government.

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