Friday 26 December 2014

Bashful Dail says firm no to 'orgies' and 'wet dreams'

JOHN DRENNAN Political Editor

Published 16/03/2014 | 02:30

Sean Fleming,Fianna Fail deputy for Laois-Offaly  at Leinster House yesterday.Pic Tom burke 5/3/14
Sean Fleming

THE list of banned words in the Dail continues to grow with "orgy" and "wet dream" now apparently also being in the black book.

TDs are also being warned about their language when there are visiting groups of children observing proceedings from the visitors gallery.

Fianna Fail TD Sean Fleming has warned that "political correctness gone mad is stifling robust debate in the Dail".

Mr Fleming was warned by an acting chairman about the need to avoid "unparliamentary language" and to use "language with decorum" after the Fianna Fail TD described a three-day debate on the Programme for Government as an "orgy organised by the Government to congratulate itself".

Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer was covering for Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett at the time.

A chastened Mr Fleming, who was referring to the three-day government debate on the 'Government's Priorities for the Year Ahead', replaced the word "orgy" with the phrase "festival of praise and self-congratulation".

Speaking afterwards, Mr Fleming said: "This Dail is getting as puritanical as the days of Oliver J Flanagan when there was no sex in Ireland.

"Obviously if any word with the slightest of sexual connotations is banned from the Dail, it's going to be a big list."

The Fianna Fail TD was the second deputy to fall foul of the Dail language police in the same week.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett was warned about his use of the words "wet dream" and "bullshit".

He was censured by the then acting chairman, Labour Party TD John Lyons, when he summarised government speeches as representing "a case of blah, blah, blah, mumble, mumble, mumble and 'success'. What a load of bullshit".

Commenting on the use of the word "bullshit'' and a previous comment about Fine Gael's "wet dream", Mr Lyons warned the two phrases "might be deemed to be inappropriate".

"I also noticed that there were some very young children in the Visitors Gallery shortly after the deputy had mentioned these words," he said.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mr Lyons confirmed that he had intervened "at my own initiative".

"The language was well before the TV watershed hour and there were children who were so young they probably still use crayons in the gallery," he said.

"Apparently people do watch Dail TV. I have no doubt there would have been complaints to the Ceann Comhairle's office," he added.

The Labour TD did, however, also confirm that TDs were free to use the words "blah, blah, blah. Those are still fine."

In another not-before-the-children moment, Mr Buttimer confirmed he had intervened to stop the use of the "orgy" word "because there were children watching above".

The new banned phrases of "wet dream", "orgy", and "bullshit" join a select group of words who must not be named on the floor of the Dail.

These include "buffoon, buffoonery, chancer, Communist, corner boy, coward, fascist, fascist minister, gurrier, guttersnipe, hypocrite, bloody hypocrites, hypocrisy, rat, scumbag, scurrilous, scurrilous speaker and yahoo".

TDs also attract the ire of the Ceann Comhairle if they use the word 'liar'.

Intriguingly, despite former Green Party TD Paul Gogarty's famous "F**k you, Deputy Stagg" outburst, the dreaded F-word is still not on the banned list.

Sunday Independent

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