Monday 23 October 2017

'Kangaroo court' allegations in Seanad

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

THE Seanad has yet again been engulfed in chaos following a spat over committee places held by coalition rebels.

Some five Labour senators abstained on a vote, while Fianna Fail led a walkout.

The latest row broke out when the coalition parties attempted to replace rebel senators on Oireachtas committees – amid allegations of a "kangaroo court" being operated.

FG's Paul Bradford and Fidelma Healy Eames were removed after voting against the abortion bill.

But the Government also decided to remove Labour senator James Heffernan, who previously lost the party whip.

Labour colleague John Kelly refused to accept his place on an Oireachtas committee, criticising the "bullying tactics". He said he wasn't aware of the circumstances around his new committee position.

"I'm not prepared to take that position, so I want to ask the leader to have me formally removed," he said.

When the substitutions were put to a vote, five Labour senators abstained and FF senators walked out. FF Seanad leader Darragh O'Brien wanted the vote delayed until he got legal advice, as the committee places are normally decided by the Committee of Selection of Seanad Eireann.

Irish Independent

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