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There was another 'unparliamentary language' incident in the Dáil today

Peadar Tóibín TD made the comments as TDs were debating the government’s Living with Covid-19 plan.

Peadar Tóibín in the Dáil
Peadar Tóibín in the Dáil

AONTÚ TD PEADAR Tóibín was forced to withdraw his “unparliamentary language” in the Dáil this afternoon, after saying the Health Minister “couldn’t bother his arse” to sit in the chamber to answer questions from TDs. 

Tóibín made the comments as TDs were debating the government’s Living with Covid-19 plan. 

Minister Stephen Donnelly introduced the debate but then left the chamber before returning later to answer questions on the government’s Winter Plan. 

Attacking Donnelly for not staying for the debate, Tóibín said it was “an absolute disgrace”. 

“When we try to ask questions of the decision makers, the most powerful organisation in the country at the moment, which is Nphet, we’re not allowed,” Tóibín said.

I know of TDs who have had to ask journalists to ask Nphet questions with regard to what’s happening in the country at the moment. And here we are having a debate at a time when the Covid committee has been wrapped up. And the Minister for Health couldn’t bother his arsed to sit in this chamber and answer questions from TDs. It’s an absolute disgrace.


After Tóibín finished his contribution, Leas Ceann Comhairle Catherine Connolly asked Tóibín to withdraw “unparliamentary language” and he agreed to do so. 

“I will withdraw the unparliamentary language but it’s an absolute disgrace the minister is not here,” Tóibín said. 

Speaking after Tóibín, Fianna Fáil TD Jennifer Murnane O’Connor said that his comments were “unacceptable” and that TDs “have a part to play in working together”. 

A spokesperson for Minister Donnelly said that he gave his opening remarks and attended “as much of the debate as he could”.

“He had a number of other pressing commitments, the spokesperson added.

The National Public Health Emergency Team today recommend that household visits across the country be restricted further.

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Tóibín’s comments come in a long line of occasions when utterances in the Dáil have been ruled out of order

Last year, Deputy Joan Collins said that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael deputies “don’t really give a fuck” about Budget measures

Perhaps the best remembered example is that of former Green TD Paul Gogarty who used “most unparliamentary language” when addressing Labour’s Emmet Stagg.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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