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back in the day

Check out this Dáil row between Charlie Haughey, Dick Spring and John Bruton in 1991

“Who wrote that rubbish?!”

Derek Mooney / YouTube

IF YOU THINK the rows in the Dáil these days are farcical then check out this one from over 20 years ago which hit new levels of rowdiness and pointlessness.

It’s May 1991 and Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats are in coalition with Charlie Haughey as taoiseach. Opposition TDs wanted to discuss the contents of a World in Action programme broadcast the night before which had made a series of allegations in relation to the Irish beef industry.

But Ceann Comhairle Seán Treacy was having none of it prompting a fair bit of shouting from the opposition benches with Ruairí Quinn in particular very unhappy asking Treacy: ”Who wrote that rubbish?!”

Then the taoiseach stood up to try and quell the row before Labour leader Dick Spring tried to offer his party’s Dáil speaking time to talk about programme.

Haughey later said the procedures of the house should not be dictated to by “a television programme – the motives of which I have my gravest doubts”.

That didn’t go down well.

Fine Gael leader John Bruton then asked if the government would consider using its own time to call a debate. Haughey said this was amongst other things a “despicable suggestion”.

Then a short time later the government decided after all to devote some of its time the following day to debate the matter.

All’s well that ends well.

Read: Here’s what Seán Gallagher and Micheál Martin looked like when they had a bit more hair…

Helicopter rides and cigars: Here’s what dinner with Charlie Haughey was like in 1987

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