IT WAS A YEAR of big issues with debates on abortion, Seanad reform and, of course, our dire economic situation, topping the agenda.
Our fiery public representatives were there, ready to fight the big fights and in some cases, it got a bit ugly. Here are just some of the times it was caught on camera.
Talking through her fanny
Senators got fairly riled up ahead of the referendum to abolish the Seanad. This anger reached a peak in July when David Norris said Regina Doherty, who was Deputy Director of Elections during the campaign, was “talking through her f***y”. He later apologised.
(Video: Hugh O’Connell/YouTube)
In July, Fine Gael TD Tom Barry pulled his colleague Áine Collins onto his lap in the Dáil during a break in the debate of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, sparking public outrage and stirring up questions again about whether TDs should be allowed to drink in the Dáil bar during debates.
Close the Dáil bar
Speaking of the Dáil bar, there was an absolute uproar in the chamber in February when Gerry Adams suggested that the bar be closed or that TDs should be breathalysed on their way back in the door.
Run Rabbitte, Run
At a Dublin pub during the summer, Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte was heckled by a group of anti-austerity protesters shouting “Run Rabbitte, run”. The response to this particular method of protest was mixed.
(Video: Dublin SAYSNO/YouTube)
Falling silent for deaf children
In October, the Dáil fell silent for two minutes as TDs debated a motion on the issue of cochlear implants for children who are deaf. Cork North Central TD Jonathan O’Brian, who called for the gesture, said it was “to get some understanding of what those children have to endure”.
Hitting out at the bankers
Former Fine Gael TD Peter Mathews had a right go at Bank of Ireland executives when they appeared before the Public Accounts Committee in September. In a rare display of solidarity, he agreed several times with previous comments made by Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins.
(Video: Hugh O’Connell/YouTube)
Working people have paid enough
In May, Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy told the European Parliament that he would not be registering for the property tax, which he called ‘the bailout tax’. He ripped up his return, telling the parliament to “let the rich pay their taxes, working people have paid enough”.
A nation of pimps
TD Clare Daly launched a blistering attack on the government for turning us into a ‘nation of pimps’ during the Obama family’s visit in June. She accused the US President of exploiting his Irish ancestry and called him a ‘war criminal’. Basically, she pulled no punches.
Ming admits he had penalty points quashed
In March, Independent Roscommon TD Luke Ming Flanagan brought something new to the debate on the quashing of penalty points for politicians, telling the Dáil it happened to him and he wants those points back.
The great Santa debate
In the heat of the moment during a Dáil debate, Fine Gael TD Jim Daly suggested he didn’t believe in Santa. After the government confirmed the existence of Santa and said they hoped Daly would not end up on his naughty list, the TD withdrew his remarks and apologised “unreservedly” to Mr Claus.
Shane Ross giving it to the board members of the CRC
The recent controversy about high-level staff at the Central Remedial Clinic receiving top-ups to their salaries from a charity fund caused quite a fuss in Leinster House. When the board appeared before a committee, TDs gave them hell, with Shane Ross accusing them of ‘giving two fingers to the HSE’.
(Video: Hugh O’Connell/TheJournal.ie)
Enda’s address to the nation
We officially exited our bailout this year – rejoice. To mark the occasion, Taoiseach Enda Kenny gave an address to the nation, to tell us what kind of a state the country is in. He promised the government will work “might and main” to fix the economy: