Independent Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae has admitted he did doze off at Croke Park, but insisted it was only for a couple of minutes.
He described Transport Minister Shane Ross as a “waste of time and a waste of space” after the Independent Alliance TD criticised him for falling asleep at Croke Park on Sunday.
A picture of Mr Healy-Rae nodding off was circulated on social media. Mr Ross retweeted it, adding a question: “Is this a waste of a good ticket?!!”
Is this a waste of a good ticket?!! pic.twitter.com/oKYXLIN9gl— Shane Ross (@Ross_Shane1) August 20, 2018
The tweet sparked a furious response from Mr Healy-Rae, who has been a fierce critic of Mr Ross over the recent drink driving and abortion bills.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr Healy-Rae launched a blistering attack on Mr Ross who, he said, had destroyed rural Ireland.
“He is a waste of space,” he said. “He is a waste of time. I can’t wait to get up to Dublin to get at him for what he has done to rural Ireland.”
Explaining his doze, Mr Healy-Rae said he had been up since 6.30am on Saturday organising buses for people needing cataracts operations from Kerry to Belfast.
Mr Healy-Rae, who does not drink, said he was out late that night to celebrate Kilgarvan’s intermediate county hurling final victory.
He then got an early train to Dublin on Sunday to make the All-Ireland final, which he has done every year since 1988, he said.
The Kerry TD admitted he did “nod off” for a couple of minutes during the interval of the minor match.
He said the seat in which he was snapped was not his actual seat. He said that, for the senior final, he sat in seat 8, row HH in Section 327 in the Hogan Stand.
“I wasn’t sitting in the ard comhairle or anything like that. I got my ticket when I got off the train in Dublin,” he said.
“I did nothing wrong by closing my eyes for a few minutes. I’ve been working hard all summer helping people.”
Mr Healy-Rae, his brother Michael, and Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath were among a number of rural-based TDs who delayed the passage of the Road Traffic Bill by way of a filibuster. They opposed the proposal to further lower drink-driving limits.