Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has severely criticised Independent TD Joan Collins' foul-mouth outburst in the Dáil, branding it as a “vacuous and empty” stunt.
Ms Collins was forced to withdraw her remarks after she told the Government and Fianna Fail “youse just really don’t give a fuck” about the number of homeless people in the country.
Responding to a tweet from the Irish Examiner, which featured a video clip of Ms Collins' comments, Mr Flanagan wrote: “Colorful language solely crafted to garner media coverage for otherwise vacuous & empty budget contribution”.
In the chamber, Ms Collins acknowledged she should not have sworn during the ongoing Dáil debate on the Budget.
It took Leas Ceann Comhairle, Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher several minutes to reprimand her.
“I noted a few minutes ago that the Deputy was using unparliamentary language. It was a four-letter word. In all my years here, it has not be customary to do that. Knowing Deputy Collins, I consider that she is above that and should withdraw the word,” he said.
Ms Collins relented and responded by saying: “I accept that but I am very angry to see people coming through the door of the constituency office who are on their knees only to have the Government bring out a budget like this.”
“We are not going to debate it. The Deputy is well able to make her case without using unparliamentary language. I take it that she has withdrawn that word,” the Cope stressed.
“I withdraw,” came the response.
A quick check of the rules revealed that there is actually no list of unparliamentary words or phrases and the chair in situ had discretion as how to deal with it. As she did not make a charge against any individual member, there was no contravention of Dáil rules.
Minister of State Ciarán Cannon was the sole Government representative in the chamber.
Ms Collins said: “You’re not here, not listening, you don’t care and to put it bluntly for the amount of phone calls I’ve got from constituents in the last 24 hours youse just really don’t give a fuck”.
She added that “it’s absolutely outrageous that this actually happened and people are being subjected to this Budget”.