Leas-Cheann Comhairle writes to MacSharry over accusations of discrimination
16th November 2022
LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE Catherine Connolly has rebuked former Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry over an “unjustifiable” attack on her in the Dáil chamber last week.
Speaking ahead of Leaders’ Questions today, Connolly said that she had written to MacSharry over the incident, which saw him accuse her of discrimination during a sitting last Wednesday.
“I wish to confirm for the information of members that I’ve written to Deputy Marc MacSharry in relation to his unjustifiable and unfair attack on my integrity as chair,” said Connolly.
“Deputy McSherry alleged that I was discriminatory in my treatment not only of himself, but also other members.”
During the sitting last week, MacSharry made a point of order and criticised the Leas-Cheann Comhairle.
“You have consistently put me into the last three speakers, where I am lucky to get 30 seconds, while others enjoy the benefit of celebrating the local sausage manufacturers and the prizes they win for a minute and ten seconds,” MacSharry told Connolly.
When told by Connolly to resume his seat, MacSharry refused, saying: “I have not the slightest intention of doing so until you show a little less discrimination and positively discriminate against actual Independents rather than those, like yourself, who join and form de facto parties and get to speak three or four times every day.”
Connolly remarked that when she was elected as Leas-Cheann Comhairle, she declared that she would be “fair and just”.
“The integrity of the chair is impugned by any inference that the chair is not fair and impartial in the treatment of members,” Connolly added.
Following the incident, Independent TD Thomas Pringle submitted a letter to the Dáil’s Committee on Parliamentary Privileges and Oversight, where he accused MacSharry of a “verbal attack” on Connolly.
“I believe we need to discuss the actions of Deputy Mark McSharry yesterday and his verbal attack on the Leas in after Questions on promised legislation,” Pringle wrote in his letter.
“It was an attack on a woman as well that was calculated I believe to have the most effect at that time.