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Friday 22 September 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# Seanad
Videos: Senator says he's been asked to 'act like a robot' as FF stages walkout
More uproar in the Seanad today…

YouTube: Hugh O’Connell

AFTER A CONTROVERSIAL week where its own future and the abortion bill were hot topics there was more drama in the Seanad today as one Labour senator objected to being made ‘act like a robot’ and Fianna Fáil staged a walkout.

The Fianna Fáil leader in the upper house, Darragh O’Brien, led his colleagues out of the chamber amid a dispute over the government’s removal of Fidelma Healy-Eames, Paul Bradford and James Heffernan from three Oireachtas committees.

Healy-Eames and Bradford, both Fine Gael, were removed after their vote against the abortion legislation this week while Heffernan’s removal comes some seven months after he resigned the whip over the budget.

The appointment of Labour’s John Kelly to the European Affairs Committee – to replace Heffernan – led to the man himself objecting to his appointment, accusing the government of “bullyboy tactics”.

“I disagree that TDs and senators are expected to park their conscience at the front door of Leinster House and act like robots for five years,” he said amid uproar in the Seanad and applause among some colleagues for his stand.

After ten minutes of back and forth among senators, many of whom objected to the motion to replace Kelly with Heffernan, a vote was called and Fianna Fáil senators walked out:

YouTube: Hugh O’Connell

The government won the vote by 22 to 11 but five Labour senators abstained.

Read: Fine Gael councillor to replace Martin McAleese in the Seanad

Read: ‘Disgusting and insensitive’: Fianna Fáil senators condemn… Fianna Fáil senators

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