Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle: Government shows ‘complete contempt’ for parliamentary process

Pringle: Government shows ‘complete contempt’ for parliamentary process

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said the Government’s rushing through of legislation in the jaws of the summer recess has shown “complete contempt for the parliamentary process”.

Addressing the Dáil today, Deputy Pringle said: “Not only does that put incredible stress on the Bills Office and Oireachtas staff, it makes a joke of the whole process when legislation is treated this way and when we don’t properly and fully engage with all the legislative stages.

“It takes away the opportunity for proper scrutiny, which is a fundamental role of opposition TDs, and maybe that’s the reason why it’s all been rushed through,” he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “Opposition TDs were willing to cancel constituency appointments and sit later or longer, but not giving us the opportunity to scrutinise all this legislation being rammed through is not acceptable and it happens every year. It shows complete contempt, I believe, for the parliamentary process.”

The deputy made his remarks during debate on the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2022.

In an unusual intervention, Deputy Pringle was interrupted during his remarks by Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan, who was chairing that portion of the debate. Deputy Durkan maintained the discussion was intended to address the content of the bills and not to blame Government or opposition.

Speaking later, after the debate, Deputy Pringle said: “I think the partisan position taken by the chair in today’s debate shows how the Government has looked with contempt in relation to how the Dáil is run.

“It is perfectly within the scope of the bill and an introduction to what we were talking about to discuss how we got to this point. The provisions within this bill have been known about for a year or more, so why does this have to come in in the jaws of the recess?” Deputy Pringle said.

He also noted that a committee was forced to suspend yesterday after discovering that the deadline for opposition amendments had passed before the committee ended its pre-legislative scrutiny of the bill; that in the Seanad, Government guillotined committee stage of the Circular Economy Bill without giving senators the opportunity to debate the amendments they had submitted; and that on Thursday evening, the Dáil took second stage of the defective blocks bill, despite the fact that the deadline for amendments was earlier that day.

Deputy Pringle said: “None of these bills had to be rushed through. They are important and could have – and should have – been dealt with a lot sooner and scrutinized properly.”