Friday 23 August 2019

Varadkar rounds on Micheál Martin and accuses him of using 'inappropriate' language in a Dáil debate

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin Picture: Colin O'Riordan
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin Picture: Colin O'Riordan
John Downing

John Downing

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today rounded on Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and accused him of using “inappropriate” language in a Dáil debate.

Mr Varadkar refused to repeat the words which he said degraded the national parliament. But it appeared that the offending word was “screw” - which was used by the Fianna Fáil leader in a row over restoring funding to the hospice movement.

Mr Martin had rejected explanations offered by the Taoiseach and also challenged the sincerity of his praise and support for the hospice movement.

“There is no point coming in here saying you support the hospices when you ‘screw’ them. That’s what you have been doing for the last six months on this issue,” the Fianna Fáil leader said.

“It’s just utterly dishonest,” he added, also accusing the Taoiseach of engaging in “verbiage and nonsense”.

The Taoiseach said he utterly rejected the allegations and the language used by Mr Martin to convey them.

“I reject the allegation and I reject the language you have just used in this House. I think that sort of language used in the parliament chamber is unbecoming to your office as leader of the opposition,” Mr Varadkar countered.

Amid noisy scenes, the Taoiseach was challenged to specifically cite the offending word or words. But he refused saying it was now a matter for the Dáil chairman, or Ceann Comhairle.

“The Ceann Comhairle may wish to examine whether or not that is one of the words prohibited,” the Taoiseach said in a reference to a long list of abusive terms banned from use in the course of Dáil debates.

Mr Varadkar said the current Fine Gael and Independents’ Coalition had increased health funding for the past two years. The previous Fine Gael-led government protected health funding over five years – but before 2011 the Fianna Fáil-led government cut health spending for three consecutive years.

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