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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C

Watch 'a bunch of whimpering babies' shout and roar in the Dáil

Proposals to enhance security around Leinster House have been criticised by Sinn Féin. / YouTube

A ROW BROKE out between Sinn Féin and government TDs in the Dáil this afternoon as proposals to enhance security around Leinster House were raised.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald recorded her “absolute disgust” and that of her party at what she described as an overreaction to a “minor verbal exchange” involving a Fine Gael TD in the Oireahtas complex last week.

The Irish Times reports this morning that Fine Gael deputy Catherine Byrne was allegedly confronted by a member of the public who was present for a Sinn Féin motion on recognising Traveller rights while walking to her car on Kildare Street.

In response, Oireachtas authorities have agreed to introduce a special entrance for visitors to the Oireachtas, increased lighting at the main Kildare Street entrance and a new rule which will see members allowed a maximum of five visitors.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 12.26.21 p.m.

McDonald wasn’t happy at what she believed was TDs thinking they “have some right to be wrapped up in cotton wool and insulated from the realities of life”.

But Fine Gael TD Ray Butler shouted across the chamber that he had witnessed the incident last week and said “it was not nice”.

McDonald’s Sinn Féin colleague Padriag MacLochlainn said Butler should “cop yourself on” and described government backbenchers as “a bunch of babies, a bunch of whimpering babies” as tensions and voices rose in the chamber.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 1.17.39 p.m. Padraig MacLochlainn with Mary Lou McDonald

McDonald said that TDs ought to be more concerned “at the substandard human conditions in which Travellers live”.

But an increasingly incensed Butler said he had witnessed the incident. He went on to describe MacLochlainn as a “bully boy”.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 1.17.48 p.m. Fine Gael TD Ray Butler (right) with government chief whip Paul Kehoe

McDonald said the planned measures were “making a mountain out of a molehill”.

Responding for the government, Tánaiste Joan Burton said that McDonald should register her concerns with the Oireachtas rules body, the Committee on Procedures and Privileges, and accused McDonald of being “very divisive”.

“You’re trying to be very divisive by suggesting that other people who differ politically from you don’t actually have concerns about what happened in terms of the dreadful loss of life,” she said in reference to the recent tragedy at the Carrickmines halting site.

You don’t have a monopoly on lecturing the rest of us on how we should respond to human events.

Read: Peter Mathews was thrown out of the Dáil and given an unusual punishment earlier

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