Saturday 20 January 2018

Ceann Comhairle ends row which could have forced him to quit

John Downing Political Correspondent

Dail chairman Sean Barrett has made peace with Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein ending a row which threatened his job.

Mr Barrett today ended six days of conflict with the two opposition parties and headed off a no-confidence motion which could have obliged him to resign.

The Ceann Comhairle insisted he had not come under any pressure in making a decision last Wednesday which enraged the opposition.

He accepted that the Dail rule under which he acted was open to different interpretations and he would engage in talks aimed at avoiding future disputes.

Crucially he withdrew comments made on RTE radio last Friday in which he alleged Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail were seeking to undermine him.

Fianna Fail leader, Micheal Martin, and Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, said they accepted the statement of Mr Barrett which they found genuine and sincere.

The row had centred on a decision by Mr Barrett last Wednesday to rule out debate on setting up a commission of inquiry into alleged garda misconduct.

This was further inflamed by comments on radio last Friday by Mr Barrett in which he alleged the two opposition parties were seeking to undermine him.

Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein staged a Dail walk-out after the chairman's ruling and they have continued to contest the validity of the decision.

Mr Barrett has insisted his decision was based on the need to establish the garda inquiry as quickly as possible.

He said he also wanted to avoid risking a complex court challenge by having an open debate about a matter which is also the subject of a High Court challenge by former Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

Online Editors

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