‘Youse just really don’t give a f***’, TD tells Government in Dáil

Joan Collins later withdraws remark made during ongoing debate on Budget 2020

Independent TD Joan Collins acknowledged she should not have sworn during the ongoing Dáil debate on the Budget after she told the Government side “youse just really don’t give a f***”. Video: Oireachtas

 

Independent TD Joan Collins acknowledged she should not have sworn during the ongoing Dáil debate on the Budget after she told the Government and Fianna Fáil “youse just really don’t give a f***”.

Leas Cheann Comhairle Pat ’The Cope’ Gallagher told the Dublin South-Central TD that it was “not customary” to use a “four letter word”.

He also said you’re above that”, as he called on her to withdraw her remarks on Wednesday afternoon.

“You’re well able to make your case without using unparliamentary language,” he said.

Ms Collins replied saying “I accept that” and said she withdrew the remark but added she was very angry because she had people coming into her constituency office who were on their knees and needed support and assistance.

She said there is a poverty crisis in the country along with the crisis in health, housing and homelessness but the Budget “says loudly, ‘Crisis, what crisis?’”.

Ms Collins was addressing a virtually empty Dáil chamber during the ongoing debate on the Budget.

Minister of State Ciarán Cannon was the sole Government representative in the chamber and Ms Collins noted there were very few Fianna Fáil TDs present.

She criticised Fianna Fáil public expenditure and reform spokesman Barry Cowen for his Budget speech on Tuesday when he made a “litany of silly jokes” about the left-wing parties.

Ms Collins said the Fianna Fáil party was “easily amused”.

But she said of the two largest parties in the Dáil: “You’re not here, you’re not listening, you don’t care and to put it bluntly for the amount of phone calls I’ve got from constituents in the last 24 hours “youse just really don’t give a f***”.

She added that “it’s absolutely outrageous that this is actually happening and people are being subjected to this Budget”.

‘Unfathomable’

Earlier, speaking during the debate Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Budget was about shielding citizens “as best we can” from the worst of a no deal Brexit.

The would be funding of over €1 billion to prepare for no deal, he said.

He took potshots at the Opposition and said the Green party made only one mention of Brexit in its recent Budget submission and said that the party’s attention to the climate crisis is “admirable but ignoring the one that might happen in three weeks is simply unfathomable”.

And hitting out at Sinn Féin he said their budget submission “resembles an ostrich - only the body is visible because the head is buried beneath the sand”.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said Brexit represented a threat to hard-won economic, social, political and cultural progress.

They could not carry on with politics as usual and needed to be “focused on meeting the most urgent challenges”, on speaking with a clear voice, and helping businesses and communities.

He too took potshots at political opponents, criticising the Taoiseach who wants to be able to claim he “got Ireland through Brexit. This ignores the reality that Ireland will be nowhere near through Brexit anytime soon.”

Mr Martin also said the Government had “sheer neck” in “solemnly announcing to the nations of the world that Ireland will stop drilling for oil without mentioning that we’ve failed to find any after nearly fifty years of trying”.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said there was a lack of vision, ambition and belief in the Budget.

She said Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe “has used Brexit as an excuse to deliver more of the same.

“The Minister says it is a budget for stability as Brexit looms, but the truth is that this is a budget that protects banks, insurance companies and landlords.”

And it “puts workers and families on the front line to take the heavy blows should a crash Brexit transpire.”