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War of Words

Clash in Dáil sees Mary Lou leave chamber after jibes from Taoiseach

The Taoiseach called Mary Lou McDonald ‘cranky’ in the Dáil today. / YouTube

SINN FÉIN’S MARY Lou McDonald and the Taoiseach were involved in yet another spat in the Dáil chamber this afternoon, after Leo Varadkar said McDonald was “cranky”.

Replying to the Taoiseach, the Sinn Féin deputy leader said Varadkar was “facile” and “dismissive”.

Harsh words have been exchanged between the pair in recent days, with the Taoiseach yesterday accusing McDonald of being scripted, and stating that she reminds him of Marine Le Pen.

It continued into Leaders’ Questions today, when he said Sinn Féin members were constantly interrupting him when he was speaking and again, stating that its deputy leader must spend a lot of time rehearsing her Dáil contributions.

Solidarity-PBP TD Ruth Coppinger followed McDonald, saying: “I hope I’m not treated to the same patronising and condescending response that the Taoiseach just gave to a previous female TD.”

The sparks continued to fly after Leaders’ Questions, when the Taoiseach again accused McDonald of interrupting him and criticised Sinn Féin and its role in the north.

This is the constant pattern of the debate we have in this Parliament. The only time the Deputy is not scripted is when she is interrupting. Is it any small wonder the people of Northern Ireland do not have an Executive or an Assembly? It is because this is the attitude of Sinn Féin. They are constantly hectoring and making smart aleck remarks. There is a lack of temperance, a lack of respect for other people and an inability to listen or to compromise.

McDonald asked the Taoiseach what he would like Sinn Féin to compromise on in the north, and said she would write to the Taoiseach for a reply to her question. However, the jibes didn’t end there.

‘Not a laughing matter’

“It is not a laughing matter,” she said to Varadkar, adding that she was not laughing at the Taoiseach.

“I am laughing at the Deputy, not the issue. The Deputy is very cranky today,” replied the Taoiseach.

Standing to her feet, McDonald said: “I am not cranky at all. I find the Taoiseach facile and dismissive on important issues.”

The acting chairman, Fine Gael’s Alan Farrell, urged for the back-and-forth to cease, adding: “The Deputy is on her feet, she may as well leave.”

“I’m leaving anyway,” she replied.

This remark was followed by the Taoiseach waving goodbye to McDonald as she made her way across the Dáil chamber.

She stopped in front of the Taoiseach, exchanged a few words with him about how he needs to live up to the commitments he made, before exiting the chamber.

Read: ‘The assembly has the advantage of not having to address constituents’: Politicians discuss abortion>

Read: Varadkar surprised that the opposition are ‘more obsessed about his PR than he is’>

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