Fianna Fail TD defiant in face of rebuke by Gormley
A FIANNA Fail backbencher last night insisted he wouldn't stand for being told he was "out of order" by Green Party leader John Gormley.
In a rare example of the Green Party publicly criticising the conduct of Fianna Fail TDs since they entered government, Mr Gormley rebuked Sean Fleming over comments he made about the State's emergency committee.
Earlier this week, Mr Fleming said that it was "appalling" that the Emergency Response Co-ordination Committee (ERCC) was not headed up by a government minister or a secretary general. Last night. Mr Fleming said he was not personally criticising the ERCC's current chair Sean Hogan, rather the lack of leadership shown from the top.
The ERCC swings into action at times of crisis and was used during last November's floods and the recent big freeze.
Mr Hogan is at the principal officer grade in his position as National Director for Fire and Emergency Management at the Department of the Environment. Mr Gormley said Mr Fleming's comments were "completely out of order".
However, Mr Fleming, who made the statement at the Oireachtas Environment Committee which he chairs, insisted he was not personally criticising Mr Hogan.
"My main issue was this was a major emergency and when I think of the previous emergency, the foot-and-mouth disease, all of the work on that was headed up by the minister and the secretary general and I wanted to see similar leadership from the department on this occasion," Mr Fleming said last night.
Mr Gormley raised the comments with the Taoiseach, and he said Mr Cowen was surprised that Mr Fleming had used those words.
When he spoke to the Irish Independent, Mr Fleming had yet to be contacted by the Taoiseach on the issue. But he added that he would do his job as he saw fit and strongly rejected Mr Gormley's interpretations of his comments.