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Enda's take on the Mary Lou row: "Anything for an excuse to get out of the place"

The Sinn Féín deputy leader was thrown out of the Dáil chamber mid-speech, and told not to come back…

IT WAS ALL grins and grimaces from Sinn Féin this morning as Leader’s Questions descended into little more than a slagging match between Gerry Adams and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Today’s session — the morning after the night before — offered another opportunity for the opposition to lambast the Government over yesterday’s Budget.

At least, that’s the way things have played out in the last few years.

But, unfortunately for Gerry and Micheál — with a generally positive reaction last evening to the measures announced by Noonan and Howlin, there really wasn’t all that much for the two men to get their teeth into.

Both persisted anyway — attempting broadsides at what they maintained was wholly unfair series of measures, which they said gave higher earners far more of a benefit, compared to those in the ‘squeezed middle’.

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However, the Taoiseach simply stuck to the coalition’s talking points, saying the package of USC and tax cuts was merely the first step in a three year plan — insisting, by way of example, that the average saving for a married couple of middle-income civil servants would be around €100 per month.

A sample quote:

What we’ve said here is that the changes in the tax system are designed over three years to create 15,000 extra jobs.

As the back-and-forth continued, the Taoiseach decided to return to what’s been a favourite topic of his in recent weeks — Gerry Adams’ pre-Budget proposals.

“You have come in here time and again with your Budgetary proposals, with a €550 million hole in it,” Kenny accused the the Sinn Féin leader. 

You have no proposition on how these services should be paid for.

Picking up steam, he trained his sights on two of the party’s highest profile personalities…

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Finance spokesman Pearse Doherty was a “very articulate young man,” the Taoiseach said.

While he maintained Mary Lou McDonald, who was expelled from the Dáil last night mid-speech, had simply ”had to evacuate the house because the script wasn’t long enough”.

“Anything for an excuse to get out of the place,” he added, to guffaws from his own backbenchers, and tortured smiles from Adams & co.

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A slightly hurt sounding Gerry had told the Taoiseach that rubbishing his proposals “in the dismissive way that you do doesn’t convince anybody”.

They were “thoughtful, costed proposals” he insisted.

The reason you disagree with them is that you come from a different political and ideological position.

But, after consulting his notes, and rattling off a range of figures from the SF plan, the Taoiseach had the final word…

He wasn’t “rubbishing Sinn Féin,” he insisted.
He was simply “giving you your own figures back with a little interest”.

More: Enda to Sinn Féin: Your promises are completely unachievable, Sinn Féin to Enda: Nonsense 

So is Sinn Féin really proposing a 73 per cent tax rate? We’ve been looking at the figures…

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