Dáil sparks fly over 'fast-track' social welfare bill

There were more angry scenes in the Dáil this morning as Opposition leaders again rounded on the Government over its bid to pass the Social Welfare bill into law today.

The Government has been accused of trying to fast-track the bill approving the changes to social welfare spending outlined in the Budget, amid fears of a constituency backlash over the weekend.

Votes on the contentious bill are to take place at lunchtime and this evening, while 65 minutes of the debating time is also being given over to details of a Carbon Budget.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said the Government is acting in a disgraceful manner and called on the Ceann Comhairle to scrap the chamber's Order of Business.

"I want every member of my party to be able to speak out on this Social Welfare Bill and I am quite sure the Labour Party want to do the same thing," Deputy Kenny told the house.

"If you think you can come in here and do whatever you want you have another think coming," Deputy Kenny said, addressing the government benches.

The Fine Gael leader said there was a "better way" to achieve public sector reform.

"You have done down the private sector and you have walked on those in receipt of social welfare," he told the opposite side of the chamber.

Independent Kerry South TD Jackie Healy Rae meanwhile responded to those criticising his support for the Budget, saying that that if the Opposition found itself in need of the support of Independents they would be "glad to have us".

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