Tuesday 23 January 2018

Healy-Rae slams fist, accuses FG of 'disgraceful' behaviour, amid heated scenes in Dail

Michael Healy-Rae
Michael Healy-Rae

Political Correspondent

A FURIOUS row erupted in the Dáil amid claims Fine Gael bent the rules after missing the deadline to nominate a candidate for Leas Ceann Comhairle, which has the same salary as a junior minister.

Amid angry scenes, Independent TD for Kerry Michael Healy Rae slammed his fist in fury and accused the Government of “disgraceful” behaviour.

“This is a dirty start to the government’s work,” Mr Healy Rae warned.

“The people of Ireland will not forgive you for this,” he added.

The row over the Leas Ceann Comhairle position stems from the failure of Fine Gael to meet a deadline for nominations last Friday.

Fianna Fáil nominated Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher, Sinn Féin put forward Sean Crowe and Independent TD Mattie McGrath was also nominated.

However, after the deadline passed, it emerged Fine Gael submitted no candidate.

Raising the issue in the ‘Order of Business’, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams queried why the matter was not being dealt with this week.

A clearly confused Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald sought advice from the Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty, who was sitting directly behind her.

Ms Fitzgerald told the Dáil that Ms Doherty sought an extension for the nomination process - which may allow Fine Gael to put forward their own candidate despite missing the deadline.

But Ms Fitzgerald’s was forced to withdrew a claim that consent was granted to do so by the Ceann Comhairle Séan Ó Fearghaíl.

Mr Ó Fearghaíl immediately interjected and told Ms Fitzgerald this was not the case, prompting her to correct the record.

But Mr Healy Rae pursued the matter and suggested Fine Gael was trying to bend the rules to suit the party.

Kildare North TD Bernard Durkan and Clare TD Joe Carey are being linked to the post.

The Leas Ceann Comhairle serves as deputy chairperson of the Dáil. The post comes with a salary of €121,500 - the same as a junior minister.

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