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TD to work through recess after 'bizarre' comments

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Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry. Photo: Tom Burke

Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry. Photo: Tom Burke

Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry. Photo: Tom Burke

A TD has insisted he will be working through the Dáil's six-week break from today after criticising some public-sector workers he said were doing "the maximum of the minimum".

Marc MacSharry of Fianna Fáil said he would be based in his office in Sligo, working through August, after he accused some State workers of taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis.

The pandemic was an excuse to "lie on the couch and watch box sets," he claimed, adding that "many elements of our State agencies, Government departments and local authorities" were availing of the opportunity "to do nothing".

He had recent dealings "where no one will be back in that office until the end of August," he said, although there will be no Dáil sittings now until mid-September.

Many were working from home and "you have to talk to an answering machine," he said.

Mr MacSharry came under attack from Sinn Féin over his remarks, but defended them on RTÉ radio. He said he had specifically paid tribute to those civil servants who had worked to an extraordinary degree on the coronavirus emergency.

When asked about his own plans for the break, he said: "Hopefully I'll get two weeks with the children at some stage."

But Sinn Féin spokesperson on workers' rights Louise O'Reilly branded his comments "bizarre" and "ignorant". His attack on public-sector workers, accusing them of laziness "has, to my knowledge, no basis in fact," she said.

"I know first hand how hard our public servants worked during the lockdown - nurses, doctors, teachers, guards, county council staff, and the staff working behind the scenes in the Dáil - they have all worked extremely diligently in very difficult and testing situations."

The remarks were "extremely divisive and have the sole intent of creating division," she said, alleging Fianna Fáil had sought to pit the public and private sector against each other at the time of the financial crash.

Irish Independent