Wednesday 17 July 2019

TDs at centre of viral Dáil row come face to face in joint TV interview

Marc MacSharry became angry at the Healy-Rae brothers as he waited, 11th in line, to ask the Taoiseach a question
Marc MacSharry became angry at the Healy-Rae brothers as he waited, 11th in line, to ask the Taoiseach a question Newsdesk Newsdesk

Two TDs at the centre of a bizarre Dáil row which garnered headlines around the world have appeared in a joint interview to have their say on the incident.

Independent Kerry TD Michael Healy Rae and Fianna Fail’s Marc MacSharry appeared on Claire Byrne Live to discuss the argument which saw the Dáil suspended for a time last Wednesday.

The row between Deputy Healy Rae and Mr MacSharry - which also involved Danny Healy Rae - erupted over speaking time arrangements in the chamber.

In a far more measured exchange on the Claire Byrne Live show the deputies reflected on the row and Sligo Leitrim TD Marc MacSharry admitted he was out of line.

"Taken in isolation there is no question Michael was in order," he said.

"I'm extremely passionate about what we are trying to do in there. Sometimes - probably half a dozen times over 16 years between Senate, Dáil and committee, with over 4,000 contributions - that passion has boiled over a little bit and of course looking back and of course taken in isolation it's regrettable," he said, admitting he was out of order.

"Was I out of order? Yes I was, absolutely... I have no issue with the Healy-Rae's or indeed any deputies in the Dáil," he said.

A new system has been introduced whereby TDs take a numbered card when entering the chamber in order to get selected for speaking time.

If another TD has a question on the same topic they are also allowed to speak, regardless of their speaking number.

Mr MacSharry objected that some TDs were repeatedly skipping the queue in what is a limited speaking period.

Tonight Mr Healy Rae said that any frustrations should be brought to the business committee.

When quizzed on his own response during the row Mr Healy Rae said he was raising a very important issue on behalf of his conditions.

"The people that can silence me forever are the people who elect me and send me up to do job... Another deputy won't stop me," he said.

Mr MacSharry said he hopes the "unseemly" incident could be a catalyst for necessary reforms including how speaking time is allocated and how private member's motions are dealt with.

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