Healy Rae tells Taoiseach to 'cop on a small bit'

Healy Rae tells Taoiseach to 'cop on a small bit'

Mr Healy-Rae told the Taoiseach his comments were "a disgrace".  Picture Denis Minihane

The Taoiseach was told to "cop on a small bit" in a heated exchange with Kerry TD Michael Healy Rae on cross-border medical procedures. Micheál Martin said Mr Healy Rae had approached his constituents to offer them treatment in Northern Ireland.

"I was reliably informed that Deputy Healy-Rae approached people outside of Mass to say 'I can get you on the bus. I can get you a cataract'.”

Mr Healy-Rae reacted angrily, telling the Taoiseach his comments were "a disgrace".

“You’re only in the bottom of the barrel coming out with that kind of a statement. Cop on a small bit Taoiseach. Goddammit that’s an awful thing to say, if someone belonging to you was going blind you wouldn’t like it."

Mr Martin later apologised.

"Just to say I apologise to Deputy Healy-Rae if there was any offence, I meant it in good faith, it was actually said to me by the way, and said to me by a clinician. Of course, you may not have realised who was who, but it was said to me."

Meanwhile, Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath apologised for a remark he made about Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.

He had questioned the whereabouts of Dr Holohan in recent months.

“Was he with the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the last couple of months listening to them, or where was he?”

Dr Holohan had taken a leave of absence to care for his sick wife. He returned to his role on Sunday.

In the Dáil, the independent TD apologised for the remark.

"I made comments earlier about Dr. Holohan and I asked where he had been for the last number of months. I understand totally where he has been, looking after his sick wife, and I profoundly apologise if I caused any offence. I was asking in the context of the leaking on Sunday night and the whole furore surrounding that."

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