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Mary Lou caused real 'hurt and damage' - Burton


Mary Lou McDonald faced criticism from the Tánaiste

Mary Lou McDonald faced criticism from the Tánaiste

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Mary Lou McDonald faced criticism from the Tánaiste

Tánaiste Joan Burton has blasted Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald for her "grandstanding" and "stunt politics" in the Dáil over the Ansbacher dossier controversy.

Ms Burton said Ms McDonald should "reflect" on her decision to name former politicians as allegedly having offshore accounts for the purpose of tax evasion. Ms McDonald was found last week to have "abused her Dáil privilege" in naming the politicians.

Ms Burton's comments come as new Revenue Commissioner documents to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) state that €750m of settlements with the Revenue arose from offshore accounts held in the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.

"The vast majority of the accounts were maintained in these jurisdictions and the majority of the accounts were maintained in the offshore entities of Irish financial institutions," the documents state.

"Offshore bank accounts were used by Irish residents to evade tax," the documents to the PAC state.

Speaking at an event in Dublin, the Labour leader was severely critical of Ms McDonald's actions.

"I think Mary Lou ought to reflect on some of her comments and the way she grandstanded in the Dáil in relation to naming people and she should reflect on the hurt and the damage she has done to particular individuals," the Tánaiste said.

"This is part of stunt politics. The Constitution is slightly above stunts. It is a really critical freedom to be able to march into the Dáil, speak our minds and name names as appropriate. No one wants to interfere with that fundamental freedom."

Asked about whether she would support a motion of censure against Ms McDonald, Ms Burton said such a motion was a matter in the first instance most likely for the Ceann Comhairle.

"I think we need to hear his view. The whole idea of the freedom that TDs have to go into Leinster House and speak without fear is fundamental to our democracy. But it is something that has to be exercised with due care and caution," she said.

"It is one thing to do that but it is another thing to waltz into the Dáil with a document in your hand and coming from a committee that she is a member of and she had plenty of opportunity there to do whatever she wanted in that committee."

Irish Independent