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TD Byrne criticised

Labour TD Eric Byrne has refused to apologise for comments he made about the brother of Sinn Fein TD Jonathan O'Brien, who is a homeless ex-drug addict.

Mr Byrne has come in for criticism for attacking Mr O'Brien in the Dail.

"Why does his good family not take him in?" he asked during angry exchanges.

Last night Mr Byrne said: "I will not be making any further comments on this matter as I believe that Mr O'Brien's brother is entitled to privacy at this time".

Referendum axed

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said the decision not to hold a referendum on lowering the voting age to 16 this year was because of a need to concentrate on the May same-sex marriage referendum.

He said: "The decisions coming up in the May referenda are going to be very important, on same-sex marriage, clearly we will be focusing in on that one.

"You have to carefully plan referenda to win them."

The Government has been criticised for reneging on its 2013 commitment to hold the referendum.

Sinn Féin's €5bn tax

Sinn Fein's tax plans will take €3,000 per year more from the average family, it has been claimed.

"Sinn Féin's plans over the last four years would have added €5bn more in taxes on to people. This means every household would now on average be paying €3,000 extra in taxes per year," said Jobs Minister Richard Bruton.

Irish Independent