Committee admits it cannot sanction TDs

 

A LEADING member of an all-party committee that upholds standards and protocols in the Dáil has admitted it is powerless to sanction two Independent TDs who were involved in an angry altercation with Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett before the summer break.

Luke Ming Flanagan (Roscommon) and John Halligan (Waterford) were both involved in a confrontation with Mr Barrett in the corridors of Leinster House in July.

The row stemmed from a decision by Mr Barrett not to call a vote following a debate on personal insolvency legislation.

Following the incident, in which several TDs claimed Mr Barrett was harangued, the Committee on Procedure and Privileges wrote to the two TDs, demanding they make formal apologies to the Ceann Comhairle.

However, both denied they had done anything wrong and signalled they would refuse to apologise.

Last night, the Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe, who is also a member of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, accepted there was little it could do by way of sanction. He said there was no standing order that covered situations that occurred outside the Dáil chamber.

“Had there been sanctions available to us they would have been enforced. Because there is no standing order for situations like this, there is very little we can do.”

Mr Kehoe said next week’s meeting of the committee would consider changing standing orders so such situations would be covered in future.