Norris unlikely to face sanctions for ‘sexist’ language against TD

Senator David Norris is unlikely to face any sanctions when a complaint is lodged against his “sexist” language towards Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty.

The Meath East TD said she will make a formal complaint to the leader of the Senate after Mr Norris said she was “talking through her fanny”.

Mr Norris launched a tirade after Ms Doherty was unveiled as the deputy director of Fine Gael’s campaign to abolish the Seanad.

In a statement in the morning, Ms Doherty criticised the Upper House, saying: “The first time I became aware of the Seanad was back in 2007, when I was asked whether I would like to run in the Seanad elections because I hadn’t gotten elected to the Dáil.”

Senators reacted angrily, with some focusing on the fact that Ms Doherty was only newly elected to the Dáil and had no right to criticise those who had been working as public representatives for years.

Mr Norris described her press release as “malignant” and said: “The idea that someone who has been a member of this House... has to listen to ‘The Regina Monologues’ from somebody who’s not a wet week in this house, talking through her fanny, I object on the strongest possible basis.”

Ms Doherty said last night she was “upset by the personal nature of the remarks”, which she described as “contrived and intentional”.

She said the “sexist and deeply inappropriate language certainly brought public attention to the Seanad today. But his comments have done absolutely nothing to strengthen his claim that the superior level of debate in the Seanad means the Upper House is worth saving”.

In a statement, she said: “I will be making a formal complaint to the leader of the Seanad in relation to Senator Norris’ comments.”

The Code of Conduct for Parliamentary Standards, says that “the use of offensive, provocative or threatening language in the House is strictly forbidden”.

However, such behaviour will only be referred to the Committee of Procedure and Privilege if a member “willfully or persistently breaches the code”.


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