Gino Kenny stands over Dáil ‘kip’ remark

The Ceann Comhairle has asked a TD to withdraw remarks that the Dáil is a “kip,” warning that such language should not be used to describe the parliament.

Solidarity-PBP TD Gino Kenny could face censure in the Dáil if Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl takes action and brings the complaint further after the outburst in the chamber.

Mr Kenny, speaking to the Irish Examiner, said he would not withdraw the remark which he said was made out of frustration when his bill to legalise medicinal cannabis was shelved by a committee.

The incident occurred after an Oireachtas Health Committee last month said the proposed legislation had too many flaws and should be abandoned.

Its report said the bill poses “major legal issues, unintended policy consequences and a lack of safeguards against harmful use of cannabis by patients”. While Mr Kenny had proposed decriminalisation of cannabis for medicinal use, the committee feared that such a move could do the same for recreational use.

Mr Kenny then locked horns with the Ceann Comhairle, in the Dáil, saying: “This place is a kip.”

Mr Kenny said it was “horrendous” that he found out his bill on medicinal cannabis was being rejected on national radio.

Mr Ó Fearghaíl wrote to the opposition TD in the last two weeks asking for the withdrawal.

The Ceann Comhairle recognised Mr Kenny had been emotional and angry over the Bill being rejected, despite the fact it had passed the initial Dail stage. But the TD has now replied to the Dáil chairman refusing his request.

“There was the context why I called the Dáil a kip. The bill was sabotaged, it was outrageous. I stand by what I said. I take the Dáil very serious, I’m very proud of being a TD. But the way the Bill was rejected is an affront to democracy, I would like to think the person who puts a bill forward is given some courtesy, rather than hearing about it on radio.”

Mr Kenny confirmed the Ceann Comhairle had taken issue with the language he used and said the Dáil should not be called a kip, adding that the TD would be given an opportunity to withdraw it. Mr Kenny maintains that an alternative cannabis programme proposed by Health Minister Simo Harris is too restrictive and ignores scientific advice on the medicinal benefits proposed.

He said five other countries in the EU have adopted legislation similar to that contained in his bill, as have countries such as Canada, Australia, and a number of states in the US.

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