Seanad adjourned amid FF-SF row over Garda Commissioner

Diarmuid Wilson (FF) claims SF ‘colleagues’ in IRA removed gardaí by murdering them

The Seanad was adjourned briefly on Wednesday following angry exchanges between Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin Senators.

Fianna Fáil Senator Diarmuid Wilson, referring to Sinn Féin's demand that Nóirín O'Sullivan be removed as Garda Commissioner, said he welcomed the fact the party was attempting, democratically, to remove a member of An Garda Síochána.

Mr Wilson said over a period of 35 years, Sinn Féin's colleagues in the IRA "have removed over 24 members of An Garda Síochána by murdering them''.

Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile intervened to say he had no colleagues in the IRA.

“Sinn Féin and the IRA are two very distinct and separate organisations,’’ he added.

‘Not responsible’

“Sinn Féin is certainly not responsible for the accusations made by Senator Wilson.’’

Sinn Féin Senator Máire Devine suggested Mr Wilson’s remarks amounted to defamation.

Mr Ó Donnghaile claimed Fine Gael Seanad leader Jerry Buttimer was laughing.

“The leader may laugh at such a serious accusation, but it will be a cold day in hell before I allow him, given where his party comes from, to discredit my party or any member of it,’’ Mr Ó Donnghaile added.

Mr Buttimer replied: “With respect, it was not me. It was Senator Wilson.’’

Cathaoirleach Denis O’Donovan ruled against Mr Ó Donnghaile’s claim that Mr Wilson’s remarks were not in order and called on Mr Wilson to speak.

As Mr Ó Donnghaile continued to speak, Mr O’Donovan adjourned the House for 15 minutes.

Michael O'Regan

Michael O'Regan

Michael O’Regan is a former parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times