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Labour TD attacks Enda Kenny for telling Paul Murphy to 'toddle along'


Clare TD Michael McNamara. Photo: Tom Burke

Clare TD Michael McNamara. Photo: Tom Burke

Clare TD Michael McNamara. Photo: Tom Burke

A government backbencher has launched a scathing attack on Taoiseach Enda Kenny for telling Socialist TD Paul Murphy to "toddle along" to an Irish Water meeting during a heated Dail debate.

The Dail was suspended twice last week after Mr Murphy quizzed the Taoiseach on the number of households which paid their water bills.

Amid angry scenes, Mr Kenny told the opposition he fielded questions from them so he could "tell them where to go", leading to a furious backlash from Independent TD Roisin Shortall, who demanded an apology from the Taoiseach.

And now Labour TD Michael McNamara has rounded on Mr Kenny for "disrespecting" Mr Murphy and "sinking" to the Socialist TD's level.

"Murphy wasn't just an ordinary citizen who accidentally wandered into the Dail chamber to ask a question out of turn this week. He was there as a public representative with a mandate to question Government and hold it to account on behalf of his constituents," Mr McNamara told the Sunday Independent.

"The disrespect shown to him by the Taoiseach was a show of disrespect to those who elected him. Of course, in some of his own dealings with Government, Murphy abjectly failed to respect the mandate entrusted to him, but that's not an excuse for the leader of Government to sink to his level."

Mr McNamara, who recently voted against the Government when it voted down a policing bill he proposed, also criticised the Coalition for failing to accept legislation from backbenchers.

He noted that the Dail was suspended last week while bills proposed by backbenchers were languishing in an Oireachtas office waiting to be drawn by lottery for debate.

The Clare TD said none of these bills would pass through the house because the Government believed backbenchers were "too stupid" to pass legislation.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy has criticised Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin for failing to produce details of the millions of euro in incremental payments paid to public service workers ahead of last week's pay talks.

Mr Murphy said it was "crazy" Mr Howlin did not hold the information centrally and called for greater transparency from the Government as it moves to restore public sector pay. "It's very frustrating this information isn't readily available. I find it incredible that the Department does not monitor this kind of information on an ongoing basis," Mr Murphy said. Mr Murphy sought the information through a parliamentary question but was told it was not held centrally. The Department said public bodies meet increment costs from existing pay allocations and the figures are not calculated separately.

Sunday Independent