Belfast Telegraph

Dail suspended as TDs row over speaking rights

There was a heated argument over who had time to ask Leo Varakdar questions.

The Dail had to be suspended for five minutes after a shouting match between TDs over speaking rights.

Leas Ceann Comhairle Pat the Cope Gallagher was forced to halt proceedings after warning about the way he was being spoken to.

Independent TD brothers Michael and Danny Healy-Rae and Fianna Fail’s Marc McSharry were embroiled in the heated spat over who had time to ask the Taoiseach Leo Varakdar questions.

The row came after Mr McSharry objected to some TDs skipping the queue in limited speaking time.

Mr Gallagher warned the arguing TDs to stop their bickering but failed to get the situation under control.

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Dail suspension

“Deputy McSharry you will not speak to the chair like that,” Mr Gallagher said.

“I will suspend the house for five minutes.”

Mr McSharry said the situation was a disgrace.

The row broke out over a new card system which allows TDs to raise questions with the Taoiseach.

The pilot scheme is being tried out whereby TDs take a laminated numbered card when entering the chamber to get selected for speaking time.

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Dail suspension

If another TD has a question on the same topic they are also allowed to speak, regardless of what numbered card they hold up.

When the Dail resumed the Leas Ceann Comhairle said he was not showing favouritism to anybody and that the reason he had suspended proceedings had nothing to do with cards.

He said the new card system would be in place until Easter and then it would be reviewed.

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