Accusations of ‘strategic interruption’ as Sinn Féin TDs clash with Dáil speaker

Accusations Of ‘Strategic Interruption’ As Sinn Féin Tds Clash With Dáil Speaker
Micheal Martin had been questioned about a commitment he gave to deliver 50,000 affordable homes. Photo: PA
Share this article

By Cate McCurry, PA

Sinn Féin TDs have clashed with the speaker of the Dáil and the Tánaiste after a row erupted over previous housing commitments made by the Government.

Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail was moments away from suspending the House after he accused Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty and Eoin O Broin of engaging in “strategic interruption” during Leaders’ Questions.


Micheal Martin had been questioned about a commitment he gave to deliver 50,000 affordable homes to buy at prices less than €250,000 when the row escalated.

“I know we’re at a certain point in the electoral cycle where people are getting excited,” Mr O Fearghail said.

Irish Government formation
Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail was moments away from suspending the Dail (Maxwell Photography/PA)


“I know hostages have been given to fortune, but they’ve been given by lots of different people on lots of different sides.

“The public are looking at this, and they expect the debate here to be conducted in an orderly… they expect the debate to be conducted.

“Strategic interruption and heckling is no way to conduct an orderly debate.”

Addressing Mr O Broin, Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman, Mr O Fearghail said: “You sir, are the arch strategist, you know very well what you’re doing. You know very well what you’re doing and you’re strategically heckling constantly.


“The next time this occurs I am going to suspend the House.”

He then ordered the TDs to sit down.

Minister of State Mary Butler was also overheard saying “amazing what a poll can do”, in reference to an opinion poll which showed that Fine Gael is on 23 per cent, up four percentage points, while Sinn Féin is on 23 per cent, down five points.

Addressing the Fianna Fáil leader, Mr Doherty said that a report from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Wednesday revealed that house prices have risen by more than 7 per cent in the last year.



“Since this government took office, the average house price in Carrigaline in your own constituency, Tánaiste, has increased by almost 100,000 euros,” Mr Doherty said.

“Nearly half the houses in Carrigaline are now being sold for more than €400,000 and under this government homes are becoming less affordable.

“This has been seen right across the State in every county and in every community and yet your government says that the housing plan is working and claims that you’ve turned a corner.

“Yet, across the State first-time buyers are now facing an average price of €400,000 to buy a new build home.

“On what planet is this affordable for ordinary workers and families?”

Mr Doherty told the Dail that the number of new homes coming on to the market to buy and own fell last year.

He added: “I’m going to ask you a very simple question, Tanaiste, and it’s one that you personally gave.

“We are now over four years since the general election. You personally gave a commitment to the electorate that if elected, you would deliver 50,000 affordable homes to purchase at prices less than €250,000.

“My question, and I’m sure many people are scratching their heads asking the same question, where are those homes today?

“Because nobody can find them anywhere. They’re not in Cork. They’re not in Donegal. They’re not in Dublin.”

Mr Martin defended the Government’s housing policies, saying that around 18,000 new homes commenced in April this year.


He claimed this was 600 per cent more than last year.

“In the first four months of 2024, there were over 30,000 houses commenced,” he said.

“There is momentum in terms of house construction in this country.”

Mr Martin went on to compare Mr Doherty to a “Jekyll and Hyde”.

“You told Davy stockbrokers that you would support the Future Ireland Fund and you voted against it in the Dail yesterday.

“It’s the classic you know, you’re Dr Jekyll to Davy stockbrokers but you’re Mr Hyde when it comes into the Dail.

“I know which personality I believe in. But I would ask what should the Irish people believe when it relates to Sinn Fein and housing policy?”

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by