Government seeks motion of censure against Mary Lou McDonald

SF deputy found to have abused Dáil privilege in linking politicians to offshore accounts

Ms McDonald has said she will not retract her statement and was “well within her constitutional rights” to name names of politicians accused of having offshore accounts to evade tax. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Ms McDonald has said she will not retract her statement and was “well within her constitutional rights” to name names of politicians accused of having offshore accounts to evade tax. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Government chief whip Paul Kehoe is to write to the Ceann Comhairle, Seán Barrett, recommending that a motion of censure be moved against Mary Lou McDonald.

The Sinn Féin deputy leader was found to have abused Dáil privilege when she named former politicians in the chamber who were accused of having offshore accounts to evade tax.

Ms McDonald has said she will not retract her statement and was “well within her constitutional rights” to name names.

Mr Kehoe confirmed last night that he is to write to Mr Barrett proposing the Committee of Procedures and Privileges (CPP) make the move.

“What Ms McDonald did was totally unfair and wrong. If Mary Lou is not going to apologise, I think the CPP should consider a motion of censure,” Mr Kehoe said. He will write to Mr Barrett ahead of a meeting of the committee next week.

Reprimand

LabourEmmett Stagg

The CPP has ruled that Ms McDonald’s use of Dáil privilege to name six prominent politicians last December was an abuse. It met on March 5th and found Ms McDonald was in breach of Dáil standing orders by making allegations against persons who were not members of the House.

The committee has written to Ms McDonald asking her to withdraw her remarks.

The CPP is not known to have made such a move before and there is some reluctance in Government to proceed, fearing it may win more support for the Sinn Féin deputy leader.

A motion of censure is a rarely used punishment in the Dáil but was used against Independent TD Michael Lowry after the findings of the Moriarty tribunal.

In a statement last week, the Sinn Féin TD said she stood by the comments, which she said were made “in good faith and the public interest”.