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Sex Abuse

Dáil suspended three times IN ONE HOUR as Burton and SF clash on abuse claims

Sinn Féin reacted angrily to sex abuse comments made by the Tánaiste.

Updated: 11.14pm

THE DÁIL WAS suspended three times in the space of just one hour by Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett today, after Sinn Féin TDs reacted angrily to comments by Tánaiste Joan Burton about sexual abuse within the republican movement.

The party’s Deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald, had brought up new allegations about Gaeltacht teacher Ó Lubhlaí —- who died in 2013 and who was accused of abusing dozens of victims in the 1970s and 1980s.

In her response, Labour leader Burton said Ó Lubhlaí had been connected to the republican movement.

“He died before the investigation [into the abuse] was completed. And in numerous media comments in relation to the investigation, it was always pointed out that his links to the republican movement were of deep significance,” she told the chamber.

“We know from the discussion previously and the acknowledgements by your party, that in fact there has been a problem of paedophilia and sex abuse, particularly of children, in the republican movement,” the Tánaiste said – provoking outcry from the Sinn Féin TDs present in the chamber.

Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett repeatedly called on Aengus Ó Snodaigh to resume his seat as the Sinn Féin TD berated him, and called on the Tánaiste to apologise.

And after attempting to restore order for several minutes, the Ceann Comhairle suspended the Dáil…

so long

Three strikes

Proceedings were initially suspended for ten minutes at 12.28pm and then again for half an hour at 12.43pm, just five minutes after they had recommenced.

When the Dáil resumed again after more than half an hour, proceedings lasted less than two minutes, before the Ceann Comhairle suspended the session again, at 1.29pm. 

After the first interruption, Ó Snodaigh immediately made a statement about how the Ceann Comhairle had handled the issue —- and said that a direct allegation had been made against Sinn Féin, which should not have been allowed.

Sean Barrett disputed this — saying the claim had been against the republican movement and not against the party itself.

As the argument between the two continued, Barrett — before suspending the action again, observed:

This is a deliberate attempt to disrupt the sitting of the Dáil.

One TD could be heard saying “Ah for God’s sake” when the Ceann Comhairle announced his second suspension.


When the session started again, Ó Snodaigh and Barrett again disagreed over what should happen next.

The Sinn Féín deputy repeated that an allegation against Sinn Féin had been made — while Barrett insisted that was not the case.

And he warned…

If you don’t resume your seat, I’ll have to suspend it again… You are not holding this house to ransom.

After the next break, Ó Snodaigh told the chamber he planned to bring up the matter with the Committee on Procedure and Privileges — which deals with procedural matters in the Dáil.

Additional reporting by Órla Ryan and Daragh Brophy.

Originally published: 1.41pm

Read: The guy called ‘moron’ by Alan Farrell has his own graph for the TD > 

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