High dudgeon and heated exchanges as past dug up in Anglo Bill crossfire
Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane was hot and bothered during the second stage of the Anglo liquidation Bill. He interrupted speakers on numerous occasions, clearly furious at the way he felt the legislation was being “rammed through”.
It was about 4am when Michael Noonan rose to reply to the debate.
“I thank everyone who has contributed. There is a wide variety of views but they are all very interesting. The last speaker, Senator Cullinane, asked if there was any precedent for passing Bills as emergency legislation late at night. There has been a whole series of Offences against the State Acts, when the State was under threat from subversives . . .”
Cullinane: “Come on out of that!”
Noonan: “When the Dáil and the Seanad had to meet late into the night. . .”
Fianna Fáil’s Mary White took offence on Cullinane’s behalf.
She felt the Minister’s remarks were unfair. Noonan mildly replied he was only answering his question.
But Cullinane continued to protest.
“He waltzes in here and wants us to have a discussion about the conflict yet he does not want to deal with the substance of the Bill.”
Senator Fidelma Healy Eames: “This is ridiculous.” Cullinane refused to resume his seat. White declared she was shocked. “We are lucky to have this young man in the Seanad [Sen Cullinane]. What the Minister said was unfair.” Noonan: “The Senator challenged me to come up with a precedent where the Houses of the Oireachtas sat through the night to pass emergency legislation.” Cullinane: “I was talking about the lifetime of this Seanad.”
It had been a long day, and Noonan wasn’t up to a barracking. “If Senator Mary White thinks I can sit here and be abused late into the morning, but not be allowed to reply to a simple question with a truthful answer, I don’t think that is the way the Seanad should proceed.”
White: “You’re digging up the past.” Noonan: “I know the truth hurts but that’s no reason not to express the truth occasionally.”