Wednesday 21 March 2018

'You must be having your Christmas party tonight' - Dáil turns rowdy

Sinn Fein's Jonathan O'Brien. Picture: Tom Burke
Sinn Fein's Jonathan O'Brien. Picture: Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

It was akin to the final day of school.

Or perhaps, as one Sinn Féin TD suggested, the lead-up to the Christmas party.

Cork deputy Jonathan O'Brien took serious issue with the Government over the lack of items on the Dáil agenda.

Following a rowdy 'Leaders' Questions' on Thursday, Mr O'Brien stood to his feet to strongly object to the decision to suspend the House in the afternoon.

"I don't know if your Christmas party is tonight," Mr O'Brien asked, expressing his disbelief at the decision to stop business early.

But his intervention sparked a fury of exchanges between Opposition and Government TDs.

What were they arguing over? Whether or not they were even in the Dail today to debate legislation that was being passed.

Labour Minister Alex White attempted to explain that the reason why there was lack of items on the agenda is because earlier debates had proceeded more quickly than expected.

This, he claimed, was due to a lack of bodies from the Opposition. Cue outrage.

Several deputies, including Fianna Fáil's Barry Cowen jumped to their feet, insisting that he sat through an entire debate on climate change. Fianna Fáil demanded that the minister withdraw his allegation that the Opposition weren't in attendance.

And Sinn Fein again joined in on the act, 'cosying up' to their colleagues in Opposition once again this week.

This time it was Cork East TD Sandra McLellan's turn to raise her objections. Ms McLellan insisted that she too was present for an earlier debate on childcare - and wanted the minister to withdraw his claim.

But he was not for turning.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section