A ferocious verbal exchange broke out today in the Dáil chambers between Donegal TD and Sinn Féin's finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.
Comments made by the SF Deputy were described by the Fine Gael Tanaiste as "very cheap" and "very personal".
The row brewed during a cost of living and rising prices debate today's Leaders Questions.
RTÉ reported that Deputy Mr Doherty has said that the Government was "out of touch" and the Tánaiste should be "a bit more humble" in his answers given "the DPP is currently assessing whether they will prosecute under the Corruption Act".
“I really thought someone, who in which the DPP is currently assessing if they’re prosecuting you under the corruption act, would be more humble in your response,” Deputy Doherty said.
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar
The Donegal TD added that people were being pushed to the brink and that government was not supporting the electorate, with the cracks getting wider.
Deputy Doherty also mentioned a Fine Gael dinner hosted by the Tánaiste last night to celebrate a decade in power.
"So whilst you toasted your own success in Government last night, the reality is that many families out there are being pushed to the brink. And let me tell you this Tánaiste, the last thing they are thinking about is raising a glass to Fine Gael's success."
Tánaiste Varadkar did not hold back in his reply:
Donegal TD Pearse Doherty
"It says a lot about you and the kind of character of the person you are. It's particularly strange coming from a person like you because you were prosecuted.
"You abused, mistreated a Garda Síochána. For that you were prosecuted. You were found guilty. Yes, you got away without a conviction because of your age at the time, but you were actually prosecuted. You were arrested. That is what happened to you."
"And in your party there are a huge number of convicted criminals - in your party and wider Republican family. Whether that is tax dodgers like Slab Murphy - a good Republican, according to Mary Lou McDonald, a good republican... a tax dodger. People are convicted for murder. We know what your party's attitude is to rape and paedophiles and what you have done in relation to that."
Referencing the dinner last night Deputy Varadkar added:
"That was a cheap shot. I hosted a dinner last night to thank colleagues for their years of service and there was no public money involved. You host dinners in America. You charge people $1,000 a plate to attend and your party leader flies first class to get there. That's what you do in the middle of a cost of living crisis. And I believe that she's about to announce another first class trip to Australia."
And in reference to the Sinn Féin's own party finances and how they operate, the Tanaiste retorted:
“A party that receives millions in donations from vagabonds that live in a caravan. A party that is one of the biggest landlords in the State. And a person who operates his constituency office using public money from some sort of republican company."
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