Sunday 18 February 2018

Angry scenes as Dail suspended twice, Taoiseach tells Paul Murphy to 'toddle along'

Daniel McConnell, Group Political Correspondent

The Dail has been suspended twice amid angry scenes this afternoon after provocative comments by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Mr Kenny, during Leaders' Questions, was responding to Anti Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy on the matter of Irish Water.

The Taoiseach told Mr Murphy to “toddle along” to a meeting this afternoon in Dail Eireann where Irish Water would answer any questions he had.

Having failed to answer direct questions from Mr Murphy as to the level of compliance rates, Mr Kenny was challenged by opposition TDs.

"What is the purpose of Leaders' Questions if you wont answer simply questions," asked Ruth Coppinger TD.

"The purpose of it is to tell you where to go," Mr Kenny quipped.

This comment drew a furious response from the opposition benches with Independent TD and former Labour Minister Roisin Shortall taking to her feet to demand Mr Kenny withdraw the remark.

"Repeat that statement. The Taoiseach has brought the House into disrepute. You should withdraw that comment," Ms Shortall said.

Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett demanded that Ms Shortall resume her seat but she responded sharply demanding that he protect the elected members, who have a mandate.

As tempers increased and Ms Shortall refused to take her seat, Mr Barrett suspended the Chamber.

When the Dail resumed, Ms Shortall again called on the Taoiseach to withdraw the comment.

However, Mr Barrett was furious and again demanded she stay quiet.

"You are not getting away with this, please resume your seat," he said before again suspending the House.

Earlier, Mr Kenny had been pressed on the death of a baby in Cavan by Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.

Mr Kenny described the deaths of eight babies in Cavan and Portlaoise Hospitals as "tragic" but said HIQA recommendations will be implemented in full.

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