Thursday 22 February 2018

Disciplinary action still on table for 'Lapgate' TD

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

FINE Gael is not ruling out disciplinary action against the party TD who grabbed a female colleague and pulled her into his lap in the Dail during a vote on the abortion legislation. .

The attitude towards Mr Barry within the party hardened yesterday as party colleagues assessed the damaging fallout from the incident.

Mr Barry has not been disciplined following his widely condemned late night incident with party colleague Aine Collins.

Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe is due to speak with Mr Barry about the matter next week.

Although no disciplinary action was taken by Fine Gael against Mr Barry on foot of the incident, the party has indicated it could still happen.

"The party has not ruled out internal disciplinary action," a party spokesman said.

However, any disciplinary proceeding could take months as any complaint would have to be processed by the Executive Council of Fine Gael, which would then set up a sub-committee to deal with it.

"In practice, it always takes months, a source said.

Fine Gael condemned Mr Barry's behaviour as "unacceptable" and "inappropriate".

Following the incident, he was given a verbal warning in a phone call from the party's general secretary Tom Curran.

In a rare public statement, Mr Curran insisted the previous description of the incident as "horseplay" by Fine Gael figures did not reflect how the party viewed it.

"One deputy's actions were unwelcome to another deputy. If it happened in any other workplace, it would be unacceptable. That it happened on the floor of Leinster House makes it more so," he said.

But Fine Gael has not initiated disciplinary action against Mr Barry, saying his apology was accepted by Ms Collins.

Irish Independent

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