Varadkar called on to withdraw 'disgusting' remarks accusing rural TDs of filibustering on abortion bill

Varadkar called on to withdraw 'disgusting' remarks accusing rural TDs of filibustering on abortion bill

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was called upon to withdraw “disgusting” remarks he made on Tuesday when he accused rural TDs of delaying Dáil business by filibustering on the abortion legislation.

The chairman of the Dáil, Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail, has remonstrated with rural TDs who he accused of bringing the chamber into disrepute by saying “this is not Ballymagash”.

During questions on promised legislation, Independent Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath took issue with comments by Mr Varadkar to the effect that Dáil business was being interfered with.

Mr Varadkar complained that the previous use of a guillotine led to bad legislation but “now we have the other extreme. Legislation is being held up in this House and in the other House. As a consequence, all sorts of other legislation is backing up behind it and that is very frustrating,” he said.

This led to a sharp response from Mr McGrath. “I was not going to raise this but I have to refute that allegation that we are delaying anything. We are doing our democratic job here. We had no pre-legislative scrutiny of this legislation.”

“I appeal to the Taoiseach to withdraw his disgusting remarks from yesterday when he said that we were filibustering this Bill,” he said.

This led Mr O Fearghail to interject to try and calm matters.

“Please Deputies. The House is being brought into disrepute. I ask the Deputies to please resume their seats. This is not Ballymagash,” he pleaded.

Earlier, Mr Varadkar clashed with Labour leader Brendan Howlin over his party “mishandling of the housing crisis in office”.

“Sitting beside him are Deputy Jan O'Sullivan and Deputy Kelly, who together held the housing brief five years. Deputy Kelly, when Minister, promised to abolish homelessness by 2016 and introduced measures that most people now accept probably made a bad situation worse. Does he have confidence in his deputy leader? Does he have confidence in Deputy Jan O'Sullivan given her performance and that of Deputy Kelly when they held the housing brief together for two years?” he asked.

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