Saturday 17 March 2018

Fianna Fail Senator’s ‘conflict of interest’ prevents banking inquiry membership, Seanad leader claims

Bitter row erupts in Seanad

Fianna Fail Senator Marc MacSharry.
Fianna Fail Senator Marc MacSharry.

Fionnan Sheahan and Daniel McConnell

A bitter row has broken out in the Seanad over the membership of the banking inquiry and a claim a Fianna Fail Senator has a conflict of interest.

Fine Gael Seanad leader Maurice Cummins claims Fianna Fail Senator Marc MacSharry has a conflict of interest, which he wants referred to a Seanad committee.

The Government failed to get its Seanad nominee, Labour’s Susan O'Keeffe, properly nominated onto the banking inquiry.

At a meeting of the Seanad selection committee last week, only one of Labour's three members showed up, which meant Independent Senator Sean Barrett and Mr MacSharry of Fianna Fáil were selected and Ms O'Keeffe lost out.

Fianna Fáil had threatened to withdraw cooperation with the Government in the Seanad if they try to block Mr MacSharry's nomination.

A report from the select committee went to the Seanad this morning, with the Government expected to try to overturn the decision.

The Seanad had to be suspended after a row broke out when Mr Cummins mentioned a possible conflict of interest with Mr MacSharry being on banking inquiry.

Mr MacSharry asked Mr Cummins to explain the conflict of interest.

Mr Cummins did not name the conflict of interest.

After shouting between the Government and opposition sides of the Seanad, Mr Cummins agreed to adjourn the sitting for half an hour.

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