Belfast Telegraph

Watch: 'Cranky' Sinn Fein TD McDonald is asked to leave Dail after fresh spat with Taoiseach

By Suzanne Breen

Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald was told to leave the Dail chamber after sharp exchanges with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar yesterday.

Mr Varadkar described her as “cranky” as she accused him of being “facile and dismissive” in his attitude. 

It was the second day in a row that the Taosieach has attacked the Sinn Fein TD and her party over its political approach.

On Tuesday he accused her of being scripted and said while her politics were very different, her style reminded him of the French National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

The tensions continued yesterday during Leaders’ Questions in the Dail, when the Taoiseach chided Ms McDonald for interrupting him and said it fitted with Sinn Fein’s political approach in Northern Ireland.

“This is the constant pattern of the debate that we have in this parliament. The only time (you’re) not scripted is when you are interrupting,” he told the Sinn Fein TD.

“Is it any small wonder that the people of Northern Ireland don’t have a First Minister and a Deputy First Minister?

“Is it any small wonder that the people in Northern Ireland don’t have an Executive or an Assembly?

“Because this is the attitude of Sinn Fein, constantly hectoring, smart alec remarks, lack of temperance, lack of respect for other people, inability to listen to them, and inability to listen to compromise.”

Mr Varadkar added: “It should be of no wonder whatsoever that the people of Northern Ireland have no government, have no voice.

“Because this is the style of politics, the style of debate and negotiation favoured by Sinn Fein, which is to interrupt people, to shout them down and just show total disrespect for anyone who doesn’t share their views.”

Ms McDonald asked Mr Varadkar what he would like her party to compromise on in Northern Ireland. 

“It is not a laughing matter,” she said.

He replied: “I am laughing at (you), not the issue. The deputy is very cranky today.”

Ms McDonald said: “I am not cranky at all. I find (you) facile and dismissive on important issues.”

Acting Dail chairperson Alan Farrell of Fine Gael had several times asked Ms McDonald to stop interrupting the Taoiseach.

He said that seeing as she was on her feet, she might as well leave.

Ms McDonald said she was leaving anyway. As she departed from the chamber, she stopped to speak to the Taoiseach.

Mr Farrell said: “Deputy, this is very, very unusual and I find it wholly unacceptable. Deputy McDonald, you are disturbing the house. Please leave.”

“I am leaving,” she said to Mr Farrell.

“I’ll write to you,” she said to the Taoiseach.

Solidarity-PBP TD Ruth Coppinger followed McDonald, stating: “I hope I’m not treated to the same patronising and condescending response that the Taoiseach just gave to a previous female TD.”

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