Former trade union leader David Begg has accused a TD of abusing Dáil privilege and of being vitriolic, unfair, and cowardly when attacking his appointment to a state board.
David Begg, the former general secretary of Ictu, said independent socialist TD Clare Daly had sided with right-wing TDs to engage in a “personalised” attack on him during a Dáil debate last week.
He made the claims at a meeting of the Oireachtas Social Protection committee, of which Ms Daly is a member. It was debating Mr Begg’s recent appointment as chairman of the Pensions Authority.
He was given the post by the Government without any interview or job advertisement.
Ms Daly used her Dáil speech to attack Mr Begg’s record on pensions while he was a board member of Aer Lingus and negotiating changes for former workers.
She claimed thousands of members of the Irish Aviation Superannuation Scheme (IASS) had seen their deferred pension contributions “decimated” and that Mr Begg had “done nothing” as a board member with the airline at the time.
Using Dáil privilege, she claimed the Pensions Authority was “rotten to the core” and that Mr Begg’s new role with the authority would “increase the rottenness”.
Mr Begg told the committee Ms Daly had “abused her privilege”. Addressing Ms Daly, he said: “I took enormous exception to your contribution in the house last week. I thought it was vitriolic, it was unfair, and it was cowardly, in the sense that you used the privilege of the house to say things about me which were unreasonable and unfair.”
He said IASS had been enormously complex, involving employers and unions, and that there had been a €720m deficit in the pension fund. Mr Begg said he had made strong representations to the airline board about the pensions issue.
Ms Daly said she did not accept her Dáil comments were vitriolic.
Mr Begg told her: “You ought to consider from time to time the damage that you inflict on a person’s family. That never seems to go through your head at all.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved