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Dublin: 15 °C Thursday 13 August, 2020
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Dáil delayed to vote on kicking out a TD - who had already left the room

Business in the Dáil was held up to vote on ordering Michael McNamara to leave – even though he already had.

Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett insisted on proceeding with a vote on suspending Michael McNamara - even though he had already left the chamber.
Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett insisted on proceeding with a vote on suspending Michael McNamara - even though he had already left the chamber.

DÁIL BUSINESS was held up for almost 15 minutes this morning when the Ceann Comhairle, Seán Barrett, asked TDs to vote on ejecting a member from the chamber – even though he had already left.

Labour’s Michael McNamara was ordered to leave the chamber after refusing to take his seat during the morning discussion on the Order of Business.

McNamara was complaining that the Minister for Health, James Reilly, had misled the Dáil in supplying an answer to a parliamentary question put to him by McNamara.

Barrett told McNamara that his contributions were not related to the Order of Business, and said the Dáil’s standing orders provided McNamara with a formal mechanism for complaining about the response given to any parliamentary questions.

McNamara refused to resume his seat, however, urging that the matter be discussed – with Barrett then telling him either to resume his seat or to leave the chamber.

Eventually the Ceann Comhairle felt forced to “name” the Deputy – that is, to formally propose his suspension from the house – and called for a vote on removing him.

This was despite McNamara’s relenting – with the Clare TD already collecting his papers and leaving the chamber by the time the vote was called.

Barrett proceeded with the vote – which necessitated a ten-minute pause in proceedings while TDs left their offices and filed into the chamber – which was passed by 83 votes to 36.

Ironically, his own party and its government partner, Fine Gael, voted in favour of his suspension. Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and all other TDs present voted against his removal.

The vote means McNamara cannot participate in Dáil business for the day – and that he will miss the vote on the controversial Finance Bill, which enacts some of the Budget measures, at 1pm today.

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Gavan Reilly

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