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Dáil suspended - twice - as opposition criticises time to debate pay cuts

Opposition TDs also demanded to know why almost three-quarters of their proposed amendments were ruled out of order.

THE DÁIL HAS been suspended twice this afternoon as opposition TDs continued to complain about the time allotted to discuss public sector pay cuts.

Proceedings were suspended for 15 minutes – and then for another 30 – as members from Fianna Fáil and the technical group sought explanations as to why a series of proposed amendments to the pay cuts had been ruled out of order.

As TDs began debating amendments to legislation behind pay cuts for public workers earning over €65,000 a year, Stephen Donnelly said four of his six amendments had been ruled out of order – with little explanation as to why they were considered invalid.

Fianna Fail’s public expenditure spokesman Seán Fleming said of his party’s 20 proposed amendments, 12 had been ruled out of order – meaning only eight could even be put forward for consideration by the Dáil.

52 of the 71 opposition amendments were ruled out of order, leaving TDs with 19 to discuss in the 150 minutes of debating time allowed by the government.

Frustrated at what they saw as government attempts to stifle any criticism of the legislation, the TDs refused to allow business to continue until the dismissal of their proposals was explained.

“This is an absolute disgrace,” Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett repeatedly said, referring to the complaints from the opposition TDs.

“I thought we lived in a democracy. You should be ashamed of yourselves,” he said, while facing Richard Boyd Barrett in the back row of the opposition benches, before the first suspension.

Earlier today independent TD Catherine Murphy was suspended when she complained about how members of the technical group are not permitted to discuss speaking time arrangements during the Dáil’s daily order of business.

Read: TD slams ‘blatant abuses of power’ after being suspended from the Dáil

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Gavan Reilly

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