Sunday 22 September 2019

Adams is shifting the blame over Assembly - Taoiseach

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams. Photo: Mark Condren
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams. Photo: Mark Condren
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has accused Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams of giving up on restoring the power-sharing executive in Northern Ireland.

The Assembly has been dissolved since Sinn Féin collapsed the Northern Ireland institutions over a renewable energy scandal last year.

In the Dáil, Mr Adams accused the Taoiseach of being behind leaks suggesting Sinn Féin's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill was prepared to restore the Assembly but was shot down by the party's hierarchy.

Mr Varadkar denied the charge and accused Mr Adams of "setting the scene to ensure somebody else gets the blame for the failure to come to an agreement in Northern Ireland".

Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday Mr Adams plans to shut down bars in the Dáil and Stormont.

He ramped up his efforts to close the Dáil bar by asking an Oireachtas committee to consider a ban on alcohol sales while the parliament is sitting.

The Dáil's Committee on Procedure and Privilege examined a submission from Mr Adams on banning the sale of alcohol in Leinster House while the Dáil is in session.

In his letter, he said he had a "range of concerns" about the sale of alcohol in the Dáil.

This included the opening hours of the Dáil bar, the operation of the bar under privilege, the lack of licensing restrictions and the impact of opening hours on staff.

Mr Adams also said it was "unacceptable" that TDs had access to a "bar, in a workplace, where important legislation affecting the lives of citizens is debated".

However, a committee source said: "The Dáil bar will not be closed - this is just another Sinn Féin stunt."

At the committee meeting, Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath criticised the Sinn Féin proposal and questioned why alcohol was not banned in Stormont where the Northern Ireland Assembly was held until Mr Adams's party collapsed the power-sharing executive.

Following questions from the Irish Independent, Sinn Féin said it also planned to close the members bar in Stormont when the Assembly was sitting if the executive was restored.

Irish Independent

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