Wednesday 21 February 2018

Independents in 'blazing row' over who gets to question Kenny

TIRADE: TDs Mick Wallace and Luke 'Ming' Flanagan
TIRADE: TDs Mick Wallace and Luke 'Ming' Flanagan
John Drennan

John Drennan

What has been described as a "blazing row" broke out during a meeting of the independent TD technical group over the reluctance of a substantial number of TDs to allow Luke 'Ming' Flanagan and Mick Wallace to question the Taoiseach at Leaders' Questions.

The independent TDs rotate the right to question Mr Kenny at the high-profile Dail Leaders' Questions to the Taoiseach on a six-monthly basis. The independent left-wing TD John Halligan and the former Fianna Fail TD Mattie McGrath have been Mr Kenny's selected inquisitors for the past six months.

Furious exchanges broke out when Mr Flanagan and Mr Wallace, who believed their turn had arrived, were told that the current arrangement would continue until September.

"They were frankly told that TDs had serious concerns over the potential damage to the reputation of the independent brand because they had been the two most prominent independents in the Dail," a source said.

This, however, did not deter the two TDs from launching into an angry tirade after they were told they would not be replacing Mr McGrath and Mr Halligan.

"There was a near dust-up. At one stage, John Halligan had to get between Luke Flanagan and Finian McGrath to stop things getting even more heated," said another source.

It is believed that Finian McGrath was the main target of the spurned duo, who accused him of being "always out on the plinth looking for heads'' and of being a "former Fianna Fail hack".

Mr McGrath has, on various occasions, called for the departure of Flanagan and Wallace over a variety of issues. After a series of references to "media scum" were made, peace broke out on the promise that "we would revisit the issue in September".

Irish Independent

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