The Dail has been suspended for the second time in a fortnight after a blazing row broke out between Sinn Fein and Tanaiste Joan Burton.
Chaos erupted after Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald raised the issue of abuse carried out by suspected rapist and paedophile Domhnall O'Lubhlai.
Mr O Lubhlai, who is now deceased, has been dubbed in some media as the Irish Jimmy Savile.
The teacher set up Colaiste na bhFiann language school in Rosmuc, Co Galway, and also taught in Colaiste Chilliain in Clondalkin. He is suspected of being involved in over 100 cases of abuse, the Dail was told today.
But after the issue involving the Irish College founder was raised by Ms McDonald, Joan Burton immediately turned the spotlight back on the republican movement.
She emphasised repeatedly O Lubhlai's strong links to republicanism.
But the Labour Party leader incensed several Sinn Fein TDs by going as far assaying that "paedophilia and child abuse" has been a "problem" within the republican movement.
"We know from the discussion previously, and by the acknowledgements of your party, that there has been a problem of paedophilia, and of sexual abuse, particularly involving children, within the republican movement," Ms Burton said.
The Dail was suspended for ten minutes after what were extremely tense exchanges in which Sinn Fein TD Sandra McLellan accused Ms Burton of being a "disgrace".
After the suspension, Sinn Fein's chief whip Aengus O Snodaigh asked that the remarks by Ms Burton be withdrawn.
But Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett said that the records had been checked and that he has been advised that no slur was made against Sinn Fein.
Source: Irish Independent