Wednesday 13 December 2017

Barrett fires fresh warning to Kenny over Dail

ATTACK: Sean Barrett
ATTACK: Sean Barrett

JOhn Drennan

CEANN Comhairle Sean Barrett yesterday launched a stinging attack against Enda Kenny over threats to the independence of the Dail.

In a rare interview, Mr Barrett told RTE's Marian Finucane: "Traditionally the Ceann Comhairle was supposed to sit there and remain dumb ... but they are dealing with the wrong person here."

He was speaking after a bitter row with Mr Kenny over the appointment of a new Dail Clerk. In a letter to Mr Kenny last Thursday, Mr Barrett informed the Taoiseach that he had abandoned his attempt to replace the outgoing clerk, Kieran Coughlan, with two new assistant secretaries.

In a rare intervention, Mr Barrett slammed what he described as attempts in the media to smear him with accusations of bullying.

Earlier last week, on the floor of the Dail, the Ceann Comhairle also claimed un-named people were "leaking stuff" and attempting to "blacken my good name".

Mr Barrett also criticised Government attempts to block the Reform Alliance from joining Dail committees. He said: 'It doesn't appeal to me and it doesn't appeal to the public.''

Mr Barrett re-iterated these points in a private letter to Mr Kenny, seen by the Sunday Independent.

The Ceann Comhairle told Mr Kenny that his planned changes would have provided the Dail with a structure that was "reflective of its independent and unique constitutional position''.

Mr Barrett also told Mr Kenny that his actions had been at all times guided by his responsibility to "promote and uphold the independence and relevance of our national parliament''.

Sunday Independent

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