TDs told public shocked at level of heckling

Thu, Dec 8, 2011, 00:00

AN “INCREDIBLE” number of complaints have been made by the public shocked at the behaviour of TDs in the Dáil.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett warned TDs that their actions were losing them public approval rather than gaining it. His comments followed increasing levels of heckling and barracking in the Dáil chamber in recent months.

During Leaders’ Questions yesterday, when disability and other social welfare cuts were challenged, TDs on both sides of the house kept up a barrage of noisy exchanges and interventions.

The Ceann Comhairle has warned regular hecklers in recent weeks that he will not tolerate their behaviour much longer.

But in an unusual move, after persistent interruptions yesterday, Mr Barrett intervened to address members before Taoiseach Enda Kenny responded to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

He told TDs that if they checked with the Oireachtas communications unit and his own office “they will see that the number of complaints being received about the behaviour and shouting during these sessions is incredible”.

“Members might believe that they are gaining political kudos, but they are losing.” He appealed to TDs to “please give people an opportunity to ask a question and to have it answered”.

Acknowledging that there “will always be a little bit of banter” he said “shouting and roaring are out of order”.