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Video: Angry scenes as Micheál Martin repeatedly told to sit down before Dáil suspended

A row over the banking inquiry saw the Ceann Comhairle get angry at an angry Micheál Martin before the House was suspended for a brief period.

Source: Hugh O'Connell/YouTube

THE DÁIL WAS briefly suspended this afternoon after Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin got into a row with the Taoiseach over the banking inquiry.

Martin had asked what is causing the delay to the inquiry getting under way in the wake of a row between government and opposition over the addition of Fianna Fáil senator Marc MacSharry to the Oireachtas Committee investigating the banking collapse over Labour senator Susan O’Keeffe.

Enda Kenny explained that the delay was a result of the government not having a majority on the committee, claiming this was needed in order for the inquiry’s terms of reference to be agreed and adopted.

He said that terms of reference could not be adopted without a majority, claiming: ”You can’t do that unless you have approval from the committee. So, how do I know what your members will do? I don’t know.”

One of the committee members, independent Stephen Donnelly, claimed this amounted to the government wanting to control the terms of reference:

A furious Martin said “I normally don’t do this” but claimed that what the Taoiseach was saying was “absolutely extraordinary”.

A shouting match broke out as the Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett repeatedly told Martin to sit down.

“Ceann Comhairle, I have no time for the deputy’s false anger,” Kenny responded across the chamber.

The Dáil was suspended for a few minutes before the Order of Business resumed to relative calm.

In a statement issued a short time later, Martin accused the government of “steadily undermining” the inquiry, pointing to previous comments by Minister Brendan Howlin who said the investigation would “not be a creature of the government”.

Martin said: “If Minister Howlin was genuine in these assurances, how can he possibly stand by the comments of An Taoiseach who appears to believe that it will be the Government that will set the terms of reference and then whip Fine Gael and Labour TDs and Senators to approve these and agree them as the basis of the banking inquiry.”

Read: With all this politics what hope does the banking inquiry have of finding out anything?

Read: Here’s how the government could restore its majority on the banking inquiry

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Hugh O'Connell

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