Suspension threatened as Kerry rivals clash over buses in Dáil

Brendan Griffin reacts sharply as Danny Healy-Rae criticises rural transport plan

Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae said having a bus  service once a month did not amount to it being  a bus route. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae said having a bus service once a month did not amount to it being a bus route. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

 

Leas Cheann Comhairle Pat ‘Cope’ Gallagher threatened to suspend Dáil proceedings on Wednesday during a heated row between two Kerry TDs on the pilot rural transport scheme.

The scheme, which was announced this week by Minister for Transport Shane Ross, will provide a bus service for people attending social events and going for a drink in parts of rural Ireland.

Kerry Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, reacted sharply when his constituency colleague, Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae, said the introduction of eight routes in Kerry was not enough.

“For example, one route is to take people from Castlegregory to Clahane once a month to play a game of cards,” Mr Healy-Rae said.

Mr Griffin said it was a positive initiative.

“It is a pilot,’’ he added. “That is why there is one route in the month to explore the further roll-out of this initiative.”

Mr Healy-Rae said a service once a month did not amount to a bus route.

“The Minister of State is letting down the people of Kerry and rural Ireland,” he said.

Mr Griffin replied: “The deputy is taking it out on the people of Kerry.”

Mr Healy-Rae said when Mr Griffin was a member of the Oireachtas transport committee, he put hard questions to Mr Ross.

“Now that he is after getting a few bob and a junior ministry, he is standing behind him,” he added.

As the exchanges continued, Mr Gallagher warned he would suspend the House.

“I expect more from the Minister of State,” he added.

Mr Gallagher said Mr Healy-Rae should have respect for the Chair.

Mr Healy-Rae replied: “I am sorry but he rose me”.