Thursday 21 September 2017

Labour leader Joan Burton refuses to back Fine Gael in Seanad nomination row

Tanaiste Joan Burton
Tanaiste Joan Burton

Labour leader Joan Burton has told the Dail that the row over a controversial Seanad nomination is a matter for Fine Gael.

Under pressure from Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald, Ms Burton said her party had a good record on appointing state board members and also in promoting women.

There were bitter exchanges between the SF deputy leader and the Tanaiste with frequent interventions from Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett.

The debate concerns the way Fine Gael have chosen a new Senate replacement candidate, John McNulty from Donegal.

Fine Gael face allegations of cronyism and wrongly using a state board appointment to improve Mr McNulty's qualifications for the Seanad seat.

Mr Barrett said Ms McDonald was not entitled to make allegations about the Seanad candidate and he also stopped the Tanaiste from speaking as she was "out of time".

Ms McDonald accused the Dail chairman of being unfair to her.            

"Tánaiste, Should state boards be used as a springboard to qualify an individual for a Seanad panel?” Deputy Mr McDonald asked and she urged Labour not to vote for Mr McNulty.

Ms Burton replied:"You're not addressing the Ard Comhairle of Sinn Fein now, where you can choose to tell people how they're going to vote," 

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