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Wednesday 29 March 2023 Dublin: 11°C The exchange took place in the Dáil today.
# Exchange
Leo Varadkar likens Micheál Martin to 'a priest engaging in sin behind the altar'
Martin has said that the comment “reflects more on the Taoiseach than anyone else”.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has likened Micheál Martin to a priest sinning “behind the altar” during a Dáil exchange about the cost of capital projects.

The Fianna Fáil leader was questioning the Taoiseach about the potential for overspending on the Dunkettle Interchange and other similar projects.

“The indicative cost for this project of €100 million has increased to €115 million. According to the Taoiseach, it was meant to go to construction in early 2019. It is now June 2019. I am hearing rumours that the costs are way ahead of €115 million. Nothing is happening on the site and people are mystified as to what is going on,” Martin said.

The joke around town is, “Sure, we can’t get past the Dunkettle roundabout”. That project was to happen years ago. There is need for a reality check in terms of the National Development Plan.

Martin said he has been met with “obfuscation after obfuscation” when looking for clarity on these projects and he asked Varadkar to provide it.

In response, the Taoiseach made the comparison with a priest engaging in sin “behind the altar”.

“I am always amused and bemused that Deputy Martin likes to accuse me of being partisan and personal yet, as evidenced by his name-calling today, he is very capable of being partisan and personal himself,” the Taoiseach said.

The deputy reminds me of one of those parish priests who preaches from the altar telling us to avoid sin while secretly going behind the altar and engaging in any amount of sin himself.

Varadkar then went on to defend the government’s capital reserves for next year.

“As deputies will have noted, the summer economic statement provides an extra €200 million in a capital reserve for 2020,” Varadkar said.

“This is an increase in the capital ceilings for next year of €200 million. It is being provided to meet the increased cost of the national children’s hospital and the national broadband plan.”

In a tweet after their exchange, Martin said that Varadkar’s comments about sinning “reflects more on the Taoiseach than anyone else”.

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