Ex-Labour leader calls for O’Donoghue to quit

ONE of the Labour Party’s most senior voices has called for the resignation of Ceann Comhairle John O’Donoghue suggesting “he has caused scandal in this Republic”.

Deputy Ruairí Quinn went on to say he did not believe it was appropriate for Mr O’Donoghue to have a press and politicaladviser, who was appointed in 2007 at a cost of €90,000-a-year.

The former Labour Party leader also questioned the need for six people to be working for the Office of the Ceann Comhairle.

His comments come after a summer in which details continued to emerge about the excessive departmental spending during Mr O’Donoghue’s tenure as minister for arts, sports and tourism. “As Ceann Comhairle, in terms of pumping up his office he is supposed to be apolitical... why does he need a political adviser and why does he need extra staff?

“It is unacceptable. We are at a time when we are reducing expenditure. I personally think he, Deputy O’Donoghue, has caused scandal in this Republic and he should resign,” he said

However, Mr Quinn’s party has held back from an outright call for the removal of the Ceann Comhairle.

A spokesman for the party said Mr Quinn, who was speaking on Newstalk, was airing a personal opinion and this was not the Labour Party’s formal policy.

“[Mr Quinn] had not consulted with anybody in the party in advance. He is quite concerned and he expressed that concern on a personal basis, which he is entitled to do,” he said.

As details of spending at the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism emerged, politicians from all sides were slow to comment on Mr O’Donoghue’s position, let alone call for him to resign.

Earlier this month Fine Gael demanded he apologise after he sent a statement to all Oireachtas members expressing regret for how the cost of his travel appeared. Fine Gael said the statement did not go far enough.

Mr O’Donoghue subsequently issued a more forthright apology for the money spent on him while he was a minister.

Despite reports the main opposition parties may table an unprecedented vote of no confidence in the Ceann Comhairle the Labour Party spokesman said this had not been discussed or considered by its parliamentary party.


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