1. It has been represented to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges that they consider the desirability of altering or clarifying the rules of debate relating to the right of reply on a motion proposed by a Private Member to which a time limit ordinarily applies.
2. Under Standing Order 83 the time limit for the debate on a motion proposed by a Private Member, other than a motion relating to any stage of a Bill, shall not exceed a period of three hours in the aggregate. Under Standing Order 40 the proposer of a motion is entitled to speak a second time where he is closing the debate on the motion. In this latter connection, while no right is formally given to the proposer to intervene at a particular time by way of closing, the Chair has always endeavoured to secure for him an opportunity to reply. It is possible, therefore, for lengthy introductory speeches by the proposer and seconder, together with a closing speech by the proposer, to take up practically all of the time allowed for debate. It is possible, on the other hand, that in the course of a normal debate the proposer is unable to intervene to close the debate because another Member is in possession.
3. The Committee have agreed that an amendment of Standing Order 83 to provide formally for an allotted period for a closing speech from or on behalf of the proposer in certain circumstances but not in others would tend to remove a source of discontent in the application of these Standing Orders. Accordingly, they recommend the adoption by Dáil Éireann of the following amendment to Standing Orders, viz.:
The addition of the following subsection to Standing Order 83:
“(2) Where the seconder of a motion proposed by a private member has not made a speech in the course of the debate on the motion, a period of not less than a quarter of an hour shall be allowed for a speech in reply which may be given by the proposer, or such other member who has not already spoken as the proposer may authorise in that behalf.”
(Signed) PÁDRAIG Ó hÓGÁIN,
28ú Bealtaine, 1953.