Speaking exclusively to the Killarney Advertiser after he was involved in a heated exchange in the Dáil, Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae said that he “knows the rules”.
A rowdy argument erupted between Michael, his brother Danny and Sligo-Leitrim TD Marc MacSharry (Fianna Fáil) on Wednesday that forced Leas Ceann Comhairle Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher to suspend proceedings.
A new experimental system was in operation whereby TDs take a card with a number on it which denotes when they are allowed to speak.
If another TD has a question on the same issue they are also permitted to talk, regardless of their number.
The incident started when Danny Healy-Rae asked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar about the ongoing Tuosist farmers debacle. Some farmers had their Department payments stopped when their hills were burned by gorse fires, despite their claims that they didn’t set the fires and, in fact, actually fought side by side with the fire department to put the them out.
When Michael stepped in to speak on the same issue, MacSharry complained that some TDs weren’t getting a look in and an unruly quarrel with both Danny and Michael followed. Gallagher, unable to quieten the vociferous politicians, had no choice but to suspend the Dáil for five minutes.
Healy-Rae insists that he was within his rights to stand his ground as it was actually his turn, as evidenced by the fact that the Leas Ceann Comhairle called on him to speak upon the restart.
“The only people who will silence me,” he said, “are the people who put me in the Dáil in the first place.”