Politics

Saturday 26 July 2014

Dáil suspended after heated row breaks out between Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin

PHILIP RYAN

Published 10/06/2014|18:41

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin

The Dail was suspended after a heated row broke out between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin over the Oireachtas banking inquiry.

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Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett adjourned proceedings after a bitter exchange of words with Mr Martin who refused to take his seat during the debate.

Mr Martin accused Mr Kenny of undermining the inquiry when the Taoiseach insisted its terms of reference would not be drawn up until the Government held a majority on the newly established committee.

The selection process for the forthcoming Oireachtas inquiry has been mired in controversy since the Government failed to secure a majority on the committee following a vote in the Seanad.

Labour Party senator Susan O’Keeffe was chosen to sit on the committee but because of a mix-up in voting arrangements she was replaced by Fianna Fail’s Marc Mac Sharry.

The committee was due to meet for the first time tomorrow but this has been delayed because the Government does not hold a majority.

In response to a question from Mr Martin on the progress of the inquiry, the Taoiseach said the Committee could not adopt the terms of reference if the Government did not have a majority.

“You have to have a report and you have to have terms of reference, if you don’t have a majority you can’t do that,” he said.

“How do I know what your members will do?” he added.

Mr Martin interrupted Mr Kenny and accused him of undermining the impartiality of the Oireachtas inquiry into the €64bn bank bailout.

“It is an extraordinary revelation from the Taoiseach,” Mr Martin said.

“He’s basically saying ‘we want to dictate the terms of reference and if we don’t get our way there won’t be any terms of reference.’”

Mr Barrett told the Fianna Fail leader to resume his seat and warned he was in breach of Dail rules.

“Show some respect for the chair no matter who is in the chair,” Mr Barrett said.

“Your behaviour is extraordinary,” he added.

Mr Barrett suspended proceedings for around 10 minutes when Mr Martin continued to criticise the Taoiseach.

The Government has four representatives on the nine member committee - including chairman and Labour TD Ciarán Lynch and Fine Gael TDs Eoghan Murphy, Kieran O’Donnell and John Paul Phelan.

The opposition is currently represented by Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath, Sinn Féin deputy Pearse Doherty, Independent TD Stephen Donnelly and Independent senator Sean Barrett.

Ms O’Keeffe was supposed to ensure the Government held a majority but she did not show up on the day of vote and Mr Mac Sharry was nominated.

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