Ceann Comhairle Sean Ó Fearghaíll in the Dáil today.
kicking off

Ceann Comhairle threatens to suspend Dáil amid shouting, says public would be 'disgusted'

The Ceann Comhairle got to his feet to call for order after a tense exchange between Pearse Doherty and Micheál Martin

THE CEANN COMHAIRLE took to his feet during Leaders’ Questions today to threaten to suspend the Dáil after a heated exchange between Micheál Martin and Pearse Doherty saw the Sinn Féin TD accuse Martin of voting “to make people homeless”. 

Seán Ó Fearghaíl said that people watching would be “disgusted” at the behaviour on show in the Dáil chamber, which he called “intolerable”. 

Ó Fearghaíl’s intervention came after Doherty read out a series of stories from people who are worried about their future after the eviction ban is lifted later this week. 

“Julian is from Dublin: myself and my kids are going to be homeless in April. With no family to rely on. We can’t get any help or accommodation to stay anywhere safe to stay.

“Thomas: my landlord is selling up and get my wife and I noticed at the start of the year, it’s impossible to find anywhere,” Doherty said. 

Things escalated after Doherty proceeded to tell Martin, “you made this decision, not anybody else,” and called on him to extend the eviction ban. Martin responded in turn by telling Doherty: “You proposed to do the very same thing on Christmas week”. 

Doherty, who was clearly annoyed by the remark, said: “Not a chance, you are a disgrace, you stand there misleading the Dáil every single time,” as the Ceann Comhairle began to call for order. 

“I am not going to say the procedures of the hosts subverted. People are entitled to speak. You’re entitled to make your point and you’ve made it very strongly. The Tánaiste is entitled to respond,” Ó Fearghaíl said. 

Martin then chimed in, saying: “I think Sinn Féin’s tolerance for free debate has always been one that has been questioned over the years.”

Doherty then shouted across the chamber :”on a point of order, I wasn’t the person who had to go to the High Court”, and that he had not subverted “democracy”. 

This was an apparent reference to Doherty’s 2010 High Court case which forced the Fianna Fail government to hold a by-election in Donegal. 

Ó Fearghaíl then threatened to suspend the Dáil is order was not restored.

“‘I’m on my feet, persist with this and I will suspend the house, I’m not going to tolerate this,” he said. 

Martin then said he had been “shouted down repeatedly” and that it was a “tactic”. 

“Where are they going to go, where are they going to go,” Doherty called to him from across the floor. 

There were shouts of “no answers” from Sinn Féin’s benches. 

“Absolutely intolerable,” Ó Fearghaíl said, before restating the rules for speakers in the Dáil, and handing the floor over to Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns. 

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel