Transport Minister Shane Ross landed himself in hot water after he likened a Sinn Fein TD to a donkey, during heated exchanges in the Dail.
During questions on Transport matters, Mr Ross became embroiled in a heated exchange with Imelda Munster TD who attacked Mr Ross over plans to introduce green cards for motorists who will want to cross the border after Brexit.
Mr Ross told Ms Munster she was “like a donkey in the last race at the last fence” unlike her “thoroughbred” party colleagues Pearse Doherty and Aengus O Snodaigh, with whom he had engaged in a debate the night before.
Mr Ross said that when the issue was raised during debate on the Brexit Omnibus Bill on Tuesday night her colleagues “were mature, sensitive and constructive”, and representing their communities.
Ms Munster retorted that the Minister “wants to be personal to mask his overall incompetence”.
Leas Cheann Comhairle Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher called on Mr Ross to use parliamentary language.
Mr Ross' comments followed a sustained attack by Ms Munster, her party’s transport spokeswoman, over the controversial green card motorists crossing the border will be required to have as proof of insurance in the event of a no deal Brexit.
The pair became embroiled in tetchy exchanges with Ms Munster accusing Mr Ross of being incompetent and unable to do his job.
She said he was “completely blind to the sensitivities” felt by people crossing the border and who will be required to hold an “international certificate”.
She initially made reference to the Minister’s absence from a transport committee because of pressures of work and thanked him for attending the Dáil given his work commitments. She added, “I hope you didn’t have to miss your elevenses”.
He, in turn, accused her of being tardy to the debate on her line issue more than once.
In response, she sought to contrast Mr Ross in an unfavourable fashion to his colleague Ministers, who she said managed to resolve issues in their area “and you didn’t”.
She told the Minister: “You made no attempt whatsoever. You should have been pushing the EU to get the waiver” to ensure such a certificate was not needed “ and you’ve let everyone down Minister”.
Ms Munster added that she knew from a previous transport committee meeting that he did not know “even the basic bits” and had to be prompted for information,
“You didn’t come in with the information that you didn’t have the inclination or care, or concern to look into it.
“If other Ministers could resolve issues in their brief and you didn’t, that really says it all.”
Ms Munster later called on Mr Rosss to apologise on the record for his comments.
Speaking on Drivetime on RTÉ Radio 1, Ms Munster said the minister 'can insult me all he wants if that is the only mechanism he has to mask his utter incompetence on this particular issue'.
She said she has not received an apology from Mr Ross and 'would certainly be calling for him to apologise on the record'. She reiterated that she knew why he said it, that it was to mask his 'utter incompetence'.