Martin clashes with Ceann Comhairle

 

THE CONTROVERSY surrounding Independent TD Mick Wallace led to a brief Dáil adjournment.

This followed heated exchanges between Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett before a meeting of the Dáil Committee on Members’ Interests on the issue.

Mr Martin said he had already raised the importance of having a debate on Mr Wallace’s underdeclaration of VAT payments. He understood Mr Wallace wanted an opportunity to address the House.

He added that standing order 57 specifically allowed for a statement regarding a matter of that kind and a debate.

It was extraordinary that every news channel and every station outside the Dáil could debate and facilitate discussion on it, while the House was the last place where it could happen.

Mr Barrett said Mr Wallace’s request to make a personal Dáil statement was made under standing order 44. This covered statements relating to matters where clarification was needed and where there was no debate. Therefore the matter was not in accordance with that standing order, he said, adding that it was open to the Dáil to change it.

When Mr Martin attempted to intervene again, the Ceann Comhairle said he had had his say and should resume his seat. After some further exchanges, Mr Barrett adjourned the House for five minutes.

Mr Wallace said he accepted he had made his request under the wrong standing order.