There was a furore in the Dáil last night as the debate on assisted suicide excluded almost all voices opposed to the measure.
In an apparent departure from the established norm, all speaking slots were filled before the bill reached the floor of the chamber, with deputies in favour of change having taken them all.
Meath West TD, Peadar Toibin called the situation unprecedented.
Ten minutes from the end, he called a point of order and appealed for more time, noting the irony of the one-sided debate: “I welcome that all the speakers so far have said we need a proper discussion about this very serious issue. It would be a shame to go through the Second Stage debate without anybody with an opposing view on the Bill getting a chance to speak, and with all the views exactly the same”.
Deputy Mattie McGrath also protested, calling the debate “shambolic” and questioned the distribution of speaking slots.
The Chair refused the request to extend the 75 minute debate by 20 minutes to allow more contributions. However, 4 minutes were afforded to Louth TD Peter Fitzpatrick to make the case against assisted suicide.