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29 Jun 2022

Tánaiste defends row with Deputy Doherty describing it as 'self defence'

A bitter exchange of words took place between Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Deputy Pearse Doherty

Tánaiste defends row with Deputy Doherty describing it as 'self defence'

Photograph from Oireachtas TV

The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has defended a bitter exchange of words with Pearse Doherty in the Dáil chamber last week and described it as 'self-defence.'

Mr Varadkar told Newstalk Breakfast, this morning, that it "probably didn't" reflect well on politics - but is sometimes necessary. The Tánaiste didn't go through the detail of what was said last week but said that in his mind it was very much self defence. 

"Sinn Féin - whether it's their supporters online, or their supporters on the streets, or their politicians in the Dáil - are constantly trying to attack us personally and bully us and do us down on the Government benches," he said. 

He spoke about the manner in which he claims Sinn Féin relates to their political opponents:"I think the way they try to demonise their political opponents - sort of make out that they care about people more than us.

"It started off, let's not forget, because Pearse Doherty alleged that my party was out of touch because I'd steak and chips with Jimmy Deenihan in the members restaurant the night before - no public money involved."

"Yet they can go on their exotic, fundraising trips around the world and drink champagne, and they're totally down with normal people.

"When you have to listen to that kind of stuff day-in, day-out - I think even for your own mental health, every now and then, you have to snap back."

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