13 June 2017
By Bryan Smyth
Cork North Central Solidarity TD Mick Barry this morning stated that any attempt to cut the speaking time of smaller parties in the Dail will meet with opposition and resistance.
His comments came as this morning’s Irish Independent runs a front page story quoting Micheal Martin as stating his support for cutting speaking time for smaller parties and reporting that the issue has already been discussed by the Fianna Fáil leader with Leo Varadkar.
Deputy Barry said this morning: “I suppose it’s a kind of backhanded compliment in a way. Solidarity-PBP has used its speaking time effectively to bring issues such as strikes, the 8th amendment and water charges onto the floor of the Dail. If the right-wing parties want to gang up on us now to try and shut us up a bit then we must be doing something right.”
The Fianna Fáil leader is quoted as saying that the speaking time allocated to smaller parties is “not healthy and not fair”.
However, Deputy Barry points out that the speaking times were agreed by all parties in the Dail Reform Committee just over a year ago and claims that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are now considering tearing up a rulebook that they wrote themselves.
He said: “They wrote the rulebook but now they want to rip it up because it’s not working out the way they wanted. Every minute of Dail speaking time allocated to Solidarity is used to advance the interests of working class people. If they think they can take that time off us without a fight they are very much mistaken.”