Sunday 25 September 2016

Gerry Adams admits Dail debate no-show is a 'sad reflection' on Sinn Fein

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Published 15/12/2015 | 13:12

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams

SINN Fein leader Gerry Adams has admitted that the complete absence of the Opposition from the Dail chamber for a debate on the prison service is a "sad reflection" on his party.

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Mr Adams said it is unacceptable that his party was not represented during yesterday's debate, which saw just junior minister Ann Phelan present for the passing of legislation.

Such was the level of farce, Ms Phelan was effectively speaking to herself as she passed Government amendments to the Bill, which completes the closure of St Patrick's institution.

Speaking at the launch of Sinn Fein's health policy in Dublin City today, Mr Adams took a swipe at the Government for trying to rush through a raft of legislation prior to the Dail recess.

READ MORE: WATCH: Minister for State has a debate with herself as no other TDs present in Dáil

But asked if the absence of Sinn Fein TDs from the debate is a "sad reflection" on his party, Mr Adams replied:

"Yes. We should have put representatives in the chamber. I'm sure we had representatives around the Dail. I was in my own constituency yesterday. I started off in Stormont and worked my way through to Drogheda."

Mr Adams said that "most TDs work very hard" and use either a Monday or Friday to do constituency work which sometimes runs into the weekend.

"But there's also a responsibility from the Government that has wasted so much time over the last months or so, and that's trying to bring in a whole tsunami of bills."

"We should have had a representative there. That's for sure. But the responsibility rests with the Government for not tabling and scheduling appropriately legislation that it wants to bring forward.

"It's also using guillotine after guillotine after guillotine. I can only speak for Sinn Fein. We should have had someone there."

Asked if he will be speaking to his party's justice spokesperson Padraig Maclochlainn about his own absence, Mr Adams replied:

"No no. We have a good democratic system within the party and we'll work that out."

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