[Sinn Fein]

23rd October 2002

Dáil rule changes show Government and Labour hypocrisy

``Government's huxter's deal with Labour'' - Ó Caoláin

Speaking on the proposed changes to Standing Orders to accommodate the Labour Party and the Taoiseach, Sinn Fein Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:

``The Labour Party's poster in the Nice referendum stated `A Different Kind of Yes'. This sordid deal shows Labour to be just a different kind of Fianna Fáil. Labour is collaborating with the government in an effort to prevent the Taoiseach being held accountable, presumably out of concern that the Taoiseach's strenuous campaign of cutbacks might leave him too drained to appear before the House.

``As an opposition party Labour has an obligation to hold the government accountable. Instead, the party has chosen to allow the Taoiseach to get away with ignoring the House for a day and a half of the three-day sitting. This is despite the fact that for years they have objected to the Taoiseach's absences on Thursdays. And all this so that Ruairi, Brendan and company will get to speak before the voices of the Technical Group.

``The hypocrisy of the government is also breathtaking. For months they doggedly refused to change Standing Orders to give proper recognition to all political parties in the Dáil. Now they have come to a huxter's bargain with the Labour Party so that the Taoiseach will not have to be in the Dáil from lunchtime on Wednesday onwards. This makes a mockery of the detailed proposals for Dáil reform which have been in discussion among party whips.

``This shoddy deal will not prevent the real opposition in the Dáil from holding the Government to account.'' ENDS

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