Dáil temporarily suspended as Marc MacSharry alleges ‘discrimination’ over speaking time

Leas Ceann Chomhairle described former Fianna Fáil TD as ‘completely and utterly out of order’

The Dáil was temporarily suspended on Wednesday afternoon after Independent TD Marc MacSharry complained over speaking time.

The Sligo-Leitrim TD resigned from Fianna Fáil last week following a row over the handling of a bullying complaint against him.

Speaking in the Dáil, Mr MacSharry said he wished to raise a point of order with Leas Ceann Chomhairle Catherine Connolly.

“On questions on promised legislation, we’re all entitled to make our case to be involved and for over a year now, you have consistently put me into the last three [speakers], where I’m lucky to get 30 seconds, while others enjoy the benefit of celebrating the local sausage manufacturers and the prizes they win for a minute and 10 seconds,” he said.


Ms Connolly told him to resume his seat, to which Mr MacSharry responded: “I haven’t the slightest intention [of doing so], unless you show a little bit less discrimination and positively discriminate people who are actually independent, rather than those like yourself who join and form de facto parties and get to speak three or four times a day.”

Ms Connolly said he was “completely and utterly out of order”.

Mr MacSharry added: “I’m just asking that I might get more than 30 seconds every two weeks, and I wish that you would study the standing order and accept the fact that this is a very legitimate point so that people can make a case to say a few words.”

Ms Connolly told the former Fianna Fáil TD he had failed to comply with her ruling and that she was going to adjourn the Dáil. Mr MacSharry’s microphone was then muted and he subsequently walked out of the chamber.

The Dáil was suspended briefly and then resumed again before it broke for lunch.

The exchange came after Mr MacSharry had raised a question with the Taoiseach regarding modular homes for Ukrainian refugees. He asked why emergency planning had not been invoked to provide local people with a modular home, “many of whom have been on the housing list for more than a decade”.

Fianna Fáil TD Jennifer Murnane O’Connor spoke earlier on Wednesday about solar panel grants for farmers and noted Murphy’s Butchers in Tullow “had won the world’s best pork sausage” and that she wished to congratulate them.

Mr Martin joked that he was “very annoyed” that he hadn’t been introduced to the butcher during a recent visit to Ms Murnane O’Connor’s constituency of Carlow-Kilkenny and that “you might send out a pack of sausages”.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times