TD Stephen Donnelly to 'wear Fianna Fail jersey' in next election
TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore used speaking time in the Dail today to predict that Independent TD Stephen Donnelly will join Fianna Fáil.
Amid heated scenes, the Labour Party leader claimed that Mr Donnelly will be "wearing the Fianna Fáil jersey" at the next general election.
Mr Donnelly is one of a number of TDs who have been linked with a move to Fianna Fáil in recent days.
The Wicklow TD was raising the issue of Budget cuts during Leaders Questions when the focus was switched to his potential move to Fianna Fáil.
The debate descended into farce after Mr Donnelly said that he was missing his child's Christmas party in order to take Leaders Questions on behalf of the Technical Group.
"Well, I'm sorry you're missing your children's Christmas play. But can I predict what you won't miss, I think you will not miss the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party away day in 2015 before the general election'" Mr Gilmore responded.
"Because I predict Deputy Donnelly, I predict that that is where you are heading and that you will be wearing the Fianna Fáil jersey at the next general election," he added.
Earlier, Mr Donnelly highlighted a new report from the Economic Social and Research Institute (ESRI) which found that low income households will be hardest hit.
He accused Mr Gilmore of espousing "old fashioned, Thatcherite, Reagan economics" after he defended the government's austerity measures.
However, Mr Gilmore responded again by attacking Fianna Fáil.
"Here's the answer for you Deputy Donnelly, the party that I believe you will be a candidate for in the next general election cut social welfare rates, cut the minimum wage, cut low paid people into the universial social charge," he said.
"This is the government that is taking low paid people out the universal social cut, reversed the cut in the minimum wage, reinstated the joint labour committees and protected people on core social welfare rates," he added.