Regina Doherty to make formal complaint over Norris comments

Fine Gael TD criticises Senator’s ‘sexist and deeply inappropriate’ language

Senator David Norris speaking in the Seanad this afternoon.


Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty is to make a formal complaint about remarks made about her by Senator David Norris in the Seanad today.

Ms Doherty has been appointed deputy director of elections for the campaign on the abolition of the Seanad.

Mr Norris said they now had “the Regina monologues. She’s not a wet week in the House and she’s talking through her fanny.”

In a statement this evening Ms Doherty said she was upset by the comments.

“I have to admit that I was upset by the personal nature of the remarks that Senator Norris made about me in the Seanad earlier today. They were contrived and intentional,” she said.

“Senator Norris’ sexist and deeply inappropriate language certainly brought public attention to the Seanad today. But his comments have done absolutely nothing to strengthen his claim that the superior level of debate in the Seanad means the Upper House is worth saving.”

There was further uproar over claims by Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton that abolishing the Upper House would save €20 million a year.

Mr Bruton was repeatedly accused of lying and his statement on the issue was compared to Hitler propaganda.

Senators said he should concentrate on his role of job creation rather than as director of elections.

Fine Gael senator Tony Mulcahy accused Mr Bruton of “misleading the people of Ireland”. He demanded a report be put before the Seanad before 7 pm on Wednesday, with a breakdown of how the €20 million a year could be saved.

Wednesday evening is when the final stages of debate take place on the legislation for the Seanad’s abolition.

He said he was “absolutely livid” and it was an “absolute insult” to people’s intelligence to say the money could be spent on disabilities.

Fianna Fáil senator Mary White who said she had respect for Mr Bruton, described his statement as “like propaganda from Hitler”.

Ms White said Mr Bruton had a huge responsibility not to tell lies to the people of Ireland. She said “these people are ignorant on their information on this Senate. It does not cost €20 million a year”.

Terry Leyden (FF) said it was “arrogance” for the Taoiseach to appoint Mr Bruton as director of elections, when the legislation had not even been passed in the Seanad nor signed by the President.

Mr Leyden said the Minister had enough to be doing with his job which was about job creation and not on this campaign to abolish the Seanad.