Sinn Féin legal advice says MPs and MEPs should be allowed to speak at today’s meeting with Guy Verhofstadt
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has expressed his disappointment that MPs and MEPs will not have speaking rights at today’s meeting with Guy Verhofstadt despite them being active members of the Joint Oireachtas Good Friday Agreement Committee.
Deputy Adams said his party has got legal advice which contradicts the Ceann Comhairle’s interpretation of Standing Orders in relation to today’s meeting.
Speaking this morning Deputy Adams said;
“I very much welcome Guy Verhofstadt’s visit to Ireland this week and the opportunity to engage with him at today’s Joint Committee meeting.
“However, the decision of the establishment here to block MPs and MEPs from this island from speaking in the Dáil chamber today contradicts the all island approach required to the challenges posed to Ireland by Brexit.
“Sinn Féin has been in ongoing dialogue with the Ceann Comhairle on this issue and we do not accept his reading of Standing Orders. In fact we have provided the Ceann Comhairle with legal advice that contradicts his reading of the rules.
“Our position, that MPs and MEPs should be allowed to address today’s meeting, has been endorsed by the Chairpersons of all three committees involved in today’s meeting.
“Unfortunately, the Ceann Comhairle is standing by his ruling citing legal advice from the Office of the Parliamentary Legal Advisor. We have requested a copy of this legal advice but we have yet to see it.
“We believe today’s meeting should be open and inclusive and positive. Unfortunately the ruling from the Ceann Comhairle has silenced the voices of elected representatives of all the Irish people.”