F-word propels Irish MP to fame

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The Independent Online

An Irish backbencher has been propelled into political prominence after startling the Dublin parliament by using the F-word during a debate on the budget.

It would be going too far to say that his resort to the F-word has actually shocked modern, cosmopolitan Ireland, but within days his colourful language has become something of a cult classic. It has attracted attention from international media and is now featured on the YouTube website, where it has been been viewed some 70,000 times.

The Irish parliament, the Dail, is hurriedly reviewing its list of unacceptable expressions, having discovered to general surprise that the F-word is not on its register of forbidden terms. It is now expected to take its place on an index of prohibition alongside terms such as brat, buffoon, chancer, communist, fascist, gurrier, guttersnipe, hypocrite, rat and scumbag.

The term made its appearance during a tense debate on the Irish budget, wielded by a Dublin Green party deputy, Paul Gogarty, whose speech came under spirited heckling from opponents including Emmet Stagg of the Labour party.

Mr Gogarty rounded on Mr Stagg and declared with some vehemence: "With all due respect, in the most unparliamentary language, fuck you, Deputy Stagg, fuck you." Mr Stagg had accused him of "bleating and blathering" about government welfare cuts, and his language, he said, was "a genuine emotive response to someone questioning your integrity". The Speaker quickly reprimanded him, and he apologised.

Mr Stagg, a seasoned parliamentarian, said he took no personal offence. He recalled that years ago he had himself used a colourful phrase when an opponent had advocated exempting farm labourers from income tax. This was, he said, "like rubbing a fat pig's arse with lard". This phrase had caused a row and after discussions it was agreed that "fat pig's posterior" should be substituted for it.