Wednesday 13 December 2017

‘Ming’ challenges minister to drink ‘glorified p***’

Michael Brennan and Niall O'Connor

Independent TD Luke 'Ming' Flanagan has been heavily criticised for a "stunt" during the debate on the water services bill in the Dail.

Earlier today, the Longford/Roscommon TD challenged a Government minister to drink a glass of what he claimed was contaminated water during a heated Dail debate on water charges.

The claims were followed by a Fianna Fail walk out.

And Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett described Mr Flanagan's actions in the Dail as an "act of vandalism".

Mr Flanagan complained that his constituents in Longford Roscommon had to drink "glorified p***" and held up a glass of water in the Dail chamber. He said he was going to challenge Junior Minister Fergus O'Dowd to drink this "glorified piss" which he claimed was contaminated with cryptosporidium.

"Kids in my area can't even brush their teeth with it and you're going to charge them for it," he said.

However, the move was condemned as little more than a "stunt" by the Ceann Comhairle who subsequently dismissed his "utter" dismay at the incident.

When Deputy Flanagan concluded his speech on the water services bill which is setting up Irish Water, Mr Flanagan marched across the Dail chamber and placed the glass of water in front of Junior Minister Fergus O'Dowd. He then left the chamber. Mr O'Dowd examined the water but did not drink it.

Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett issued a statement shortly afterwards in which he expressed his "utter dismay" at the announcement and announced his intention to seek a meeting with the Dail Committee on Procedure and Privileges this afternoon.

"Whilst I fully appreciate the need for Members to attract publicity and inform their constituents of the work that they do in Leinster House but when a Member decides to pull a stunt such as this, it does nothing other than denigrate our National Parliament," Mr Barrett said.

Meanwhile, Micheal Martin led a Fianna Fail walkout from the Dail  after claiming that the government was rushing through legislation without debate.

The Fianna Fáil contingent stormed out of the chamber just after 1pm amid heated scenes.

Mr Martin claimed that the government had 'guillotined' the Water Services Bill 2013 by not allowing for a proper debate.

Irish Independent

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