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Monday 19 November 2018

Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald refuses to leave the Dail - despite being suspended

Niall O'Connor

THE Dail descended into chaos today following a bitter row over water charges.

Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald was suspended from the chamber after becoming embroiled in heated exchanges with Tanaiste Joan Burton.

However, she refused to leave the chamber. And the Ceann Comhairle refused to re-enter until she had left. It led to farcical scenes that are ongoing.

Earlier, amid angry scenes, Labour TD Eric Byrne demanded that Sinn Fein reveal the whereabouts of the bodies of IRA victims.

"Where are the bodies, where are the bodies," Mr Byrne shouted.

Sinn Fein Cork TD Sandra McLellan claimed that the government is consistently refusing to answer questions from the Opposition.

After her colleague Ms McDonald refused to take her seat, Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett suspended the house.

TDs then voted in favour of expelling Ms McDonald from the chamber.

Earlier, Joan Burton said the priority of the government is to offer people a "modest charge" in relation to water.

She said the full water package has not yet been signed off on but that it will be revealed by Environment Minister Alan Kely next week.

Ms Burton refused to say whether people who do not pay their bills will have the sums deducted from their wages and social welfare payments.

She also did not respond to questions over whether emergency legislation will be introduced in this area next week.

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