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# answer me this
Would Sinn Féin, in power, 'walk out on themselves?' ... Joan Burton's seriously asking
Dáil proceedings were suspended three times in the space of an hour yesterday, after Sinn Féin took issue with comments by Burton.

TÁNAISTE JOAN BURTON has questioned whether Sinn Féin are ready for Government, and hit out at the party over its conduct in the Dáíl in recent weeks.

It follows a series of disruptions in the chamber since Budget Day — when the party’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald was thrown out by Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett as she offered her views on Michael Noonan’s announcement.

Earlier this month, Barrett was forced to adjourn the Dáil when McDonald refused leave the chamber — prompting a four-hour sit-in by Sinn Féin TDs.

And in the latest incident, yesterday, the Dáil was suspended three times in the space of an hour, after the party took issue with comments by the Tánaiste.

Speaking to reporters in Cork, Burton observed:

The kind of stunts that Sinn Féin have been pulling on a regular basis to disrupt the operation of the Dáil… I mean the question arises — were they in Government would they be walking out on themselves?

“Because yesterday was just an outrageous waste of time in relation to a very sensitive and important issue in respect of people who have been subject to abuse.”

Niall Carson Niall Carson

Mary Lou McDonald had been attempting to raise new allegations about Domhnall Ó Lubhlaí when the row broke out.

The Gaeltacht teacher — who died in 2013 — was accused of abusing dozens of victims in the 1970s and 1980s. McDonald said she had been contacted by his victims, who sought her out for help.

Proceedings were thrown into disarray after Burton said there there had been “a problem of paedophilia and sex abuse, particularly of children, in the republican movement”.

Uproar ensued. Sinn Féin contended that a direct allegation had been made against the party — but the Ceann Comhairle repeatedly insisted it had not. Eventually, SF TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh said he would take the matter up with the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, which deals with procedural matters in the Dáil.

In a statement today, McDonald again accused Burton of trying to deflect attention away from the issue she was raising “by slurring my party”.

If she was not briefed on the issue she would have been better served by giving an assurance to look into the matter rather than engaging in cheap political point scoring with such a sensitive issue.

Abuse claims

The Sinn Féin TD also repeated her assertion that victims of Ó Lubhlaí had been denied access to an internal Garda review into how the complaints and allegations against him were handled.

We know that the internal garda review concluded in July.  We know that the victims have been denied access to that review.

In a statement last night, the Department of Justice said it was “entirely untrue” to suggest that Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald had received the report “or that any such report has been sitting on her desk”.

Read: Dáil suspended three times IN ONE HOUR as Burton and SF clash on abuse claims

Read: Mary Lou claims “entirely untrue” and “entirely incorrect” — Department of Justice

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