Committee Reports::Report - Amendment to Standing Order relating to time limit to Debate on Private Members' Motions::30 April, 1959::Report


1. The Committee on Procedure and Privileges has had under consideration the desirability of regulating the rules of debate on private members’ motions to which a time limit of three hours applies under the provisions of Standing Order 83.

2. One aspect of the problem of the equitable distribution of the time allotted for such motions between members was considered by the Committee in 1953. In its report (T. 141) to the Dáil in that year it recommended that Standing Order 83 should be amended so that a period of not less than a quarter of an hour would be allotted for a closing speech from or on behalf of the proposer of a motion provided that the seconder of the motion had refrained from speaking in the debate. The House amended the Standing Order accordingly.

3. It has recently been represented to the Committee that the Standing Order should be amended radically in order to safeguard against the taking up of a disproportionate amount of time in speaking by the mover of the motion, or by the mover of the motion and the seconder where the mover may be indifferent about having a formal right to reply, or by other members in the course of the debate. The Committee is in agreement with the view that the rules of debate on private members’ motions should preclude any abuses of this nature, and it feels that where it is thought fit to impose a time limit on the length of a particular type of debate it is proper that a time limit should apply to the speeches of members engaged in it.

4. The opinion of the Committee is that on a motion proposed by a private member to which the time limit under the Standing Order applies a maximum period of forty minutes is adequate for the introductory speech and a maximum period of thirty minutes for other speakers in the course of the debate, while a minimum time of fifteen minutes should be allowed for a speech in reply at the conclusion of debate.

5. The Committee, accordingly, recommends to the Dáil the deletion of subsection (2) of Standing Order 83 and the substitution of the following subsection in its stead:

“(2) The speech of a member proposing a motion to which the time limit applies shall not exceed forty minutes and the member proposing, or such other member who has not already spoken as he may authorise in that behalf, shall be entitled to not less than fifteen minutes for a speech in reply; the speech of any other member in the course of the debate shall not exceed thirty minutes.”



30th April, 1959