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Saturday 21 October 2017

Uproar as FF senator says Kenny 'urinated on the Seanad'

War of words over MacSharry jibe

Marc MacSharry's comments provoked angry scenes
Marc MacSharry's comments provoked angry scenes

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

ENDA Kenny has been accused of "urinating" on the Seanad with his criticisms of its role during the economic crash.

There was a heated debate in the Seanad about the Taoiseach's comments that it was "elitist" and had done nothing to challenge the policies of the Celtic Tiger era.

Fianna Fail Senator Marc MacSharry led the charge by accusing Mr Kenny of failing to acknowledge the work of past senators.

Addressing the Cathaoirleach, Paddy Burke, he said: "You've allowed him to urinate on this house."

He went on to say that Mr Kenny had been going around Europe "acting like a clown", accepting accolades for using the plan of former Fianna Fail finance minister Brian Lenihan for putting the country back on the road to recovery.

His comments provoked angry scenes, with Independent Senator Marie Louise O'Donnell saying she objected to that kind of language being used in relation to Mr Kenny.

Labour Senator Marie Moloney said she wanted to apologise on behalf of Mr MacSharry – which led to further objections from him.

"You don't apologise for me – ever," he said.

But the Seanad's Cathaoirleach, Fine Gael Senator Paddy Burke, told Mr MacSharry that he was out of order.

"You showed no respect for this House," he said.

The Government is relying on Fine Gael and Labour senators to pass the bill to hold a referendum on the abolition of the Seanad in the autumn.

But Labour Senator Denis Landy has still not committed to backing the legislation to allow for the referendum on the abolition of the Seanad. His support will be important for the Government because it has a slim majority of just two votes.

If Mr Landy were to vote against the legislation, it could lead to a 29-29 tie in the Seanad – with Mr Burke being forced to use his casting vote to get the bill through.

Mr Landy said: "It's fair to say I haven't made up my mind yet. I will look at the legislation."

ABOLITION

Labour chief whip, Senator Aideen Hayden, said she was confident that all Labour senators, would support the referendum bill, even though they are opposed to the abolition.

"I'm not expecting to lose any of our people on this. There is a genuine feeling in the group to put the issue to the people," she said.

The only exception to this is Labour Senator James Heffernan, who has lost the party whip for opposing social welfare cuts in the Budget and is going to vote against the Seanad referendum bill.

A spokesman for Mr Kenny said he had no comment to make about Mr MacSharry's remarks.

Irish Independent

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