Fianna Fáil has claimed that in a bid to avoid Dáil scrutiny today, Fine Gael and the Health Minister James Reilly appear to have arranged for more than 85 planted questions to be submitted in the names of Fine Gael backbenchers.
The party’s Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher says that while such a move is not against Dáil rules – the questions are selected by lottery – it is clearly against the spirit of Dáil accountability.
Deputy Kelleher explained, “Fewer than 90 questions in total were submitted to Minister Reilly in the last two Health question times of 2012. However so far in 2013, we have seen a rising number of plants. More than 30 were submitted last month, and this has almost trebled in what is clearly a deliberate attempt to smother the opposition in an avalanche of planted questions.
“A TD can only submit a maximum of 2 oral questions which means that Fine Gael, with more than 50 backbenchers, is in a position to submit such a volume of questions as they have done today.
“While it is not without precedent for a small number of government backbenchers to be encouraged to submit a question, for more than 85 to be submitted is notable to say the least.
“This is a government that promised a new era – a government that promised transparency. Well this Minister is certainly transparent – transparently cynical,” said Deputy Kelleher.