Irish parliament suspended after huge row between politicians

Marc MacSharry starts argument by protesting that other politicians were getting special treatment in the chamber

Caroline Mortimer
Wednesday 07 February 2018 23:19
Irish parliament suspended after huge row between politicians

The Irish parliament was temporarily shut down following a furious row between several of its members over the new speaking system.

Marc MacSharry, of the opposition Fianna Fail party, started a shouting match with brothers and independent members of the lower house, Michael and Danny Healy-Rae, after he objected to Michael Healy-Rae’s request to speak in the chamber.

He was objecting to what he saw as the flouting of a new system where TDs - or MPs - take a numbered card when they enter the chamber in order to get selected for speaking time.

If a TD also wants to speak on the same topic as a previous speaker they can interject.

But Mr MacSharry said TDs were flouting the rules and repeatedly skipping the queue for speaking time.

He said they had 44 politicians in the house and Mr Michael Healy-Rae was “up every day” to speak, shouting that it was a “disgrace”, the Irish Independent reported.

But the brothers were furious at the suggestion of favouritism and began shouting back.

Mr Michael Healy-Rae was heard shouting that the accusation was “outrageous”.

The furore forced the chamber’s Leas-Cheann Comhairle – the Irish equivalent of the UK parliament’s Speaker – Pat Gallagher to suspend the session for five minutes to calm proceedings.

When they resumed, Mr Gallagher said the card system was being used as a “pilot scheme until Easter”.

“The reason I had to suspend was nothing to do with cards. It wasn’t a question of me showing favouritism to anybody,” he added.

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