Independent TD Luke 'Ming' Flanagan can't help it . . . he was 'born this way'
INDEPENDENT TD Luke 'Ming' Flanagan is refusing to apologise for verbally abusing Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett in Leinster House this week.
A Dail watchdog is expected to investigate an incident outside the chamber, where Mr Flanagan repeatedly called Mr Barrett "a disgrace".
The incident follows a dispute over the passing of legislation in the Dail without a vote -- because nobody called for one when Mr Barrett asked.
But Mr Flanagan has said he will not be apologising and that the Ceann Comhairle engaged in "outrageous behaviour".
The Roscommon TD also claimed that he was owed an apology. Repeatedly questioning Mr Barrett's independence, he said the Ceann Comhairle had been "very unfair".
The Independent TD also claimed that the Ceann Comhairle had been "throwing abuse" about the way Mr Flanagan dresses.
He said: "The reality is I was born this way. I do not have a choice but to be the person I am. If I was born black or if I was born with one leg or whatever, would he have a right to have a go at me? No, he wouldn't."
Asked on Mid-West Radio if it was appropriate to compare how he decides to dress to disabled people, he replied: "That is debatable. As far as I am concerned, I was born this way."
The incident with the Ceann Comhairle happened just after 10.30pm on Wednesday. Mr Barrett was chairing the debate on the Personal Insolvency Bill.
When the debate was finished, he asked TDs if it was agreed that the Bill had passed the second stage. The TDs in the chamber replied: "Agreed."
Nobody objected, so Mr Barrett declared that it was passed. Then a number of Independent TDs complained but Mr Barrett said the Bill was passed.
Shortly afterwards, Mr Flanagan and a number of other Independents were outside in the corridor when Mr Barrett passed.
The Ceann Comhairle was followed and verbally harangued. Mr Barrett was said to be visibly shaken.