Michael McNamara TD has exploded on Health Minister Stephen Donnelly in a heated Dáil exchange, accusing the Minister of spreading “disinformation” and “lying.”
The clash happened yesterday during a debate on the extension of the government’s emergency Covid powers. It began when Independent Clare TD Michael McNamara chastised Donnelly for allegedly tweeting while other members were speaking.
“While looking at this debate in my office I noticed that there was a tweet a couple of minutes ago and indeed it was from your good self, the Minister for Health, saying that everybody who opposed this was reckless,” said McNamara.
“With regard to being reckless, it was reckless to have such a disregard for Parliament and for the Dáil, not for me or Deputy Connolly, or any of the Deputies here, but for the people that we represent because it is the essence of democracy. One thing that Fianna Fáil always had, that party the Minister joined so late in the day, was a fairly healthy respect for parliamentary democracy.”
A heated exchange between Stephen Donnelly and Michael McNamara during the closing of the debate on the continuation of the government's draconian discrimination measures. pic.twitter.com/U2stWBQpU0
— JRD (@JRD0000) November 2, 2021
Later on in the debate, Donnelly responded.
“I have listened very carefully to what Members have said during the debate,” said Donnelly.
“While tweeting,” interrupted Deputy McNamara.
McNamara was rebuked by the chairman for interrupting and asked to be respectful, but replied “The Minister tweets during debates…he is not respectful when he tweets during debates.”
“TWEETING DURING DEBATES IS OUT OF ORDER”
“The Deputy is long enough around to know he is out of order,” said the chairman.
“But so is tweeting during debates. The Chair is long enough around to know that is disrespectful and out of order.”
At this point Minister Donnelly chimed in.
“It is interesting that the Deputy who is insistent on trying to stop parliamentary debate is the same one who, when asked recently on national radio, on RTÉ, whether he would encourage people to get vaccinated, refused to answer the question,” the Fianna Fáil Minister said.
“I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND NEITHER ARE YOU”
“I said people should talk to a GP because I am not a doctor, and neither are you,” McNamara shot back.
“I do not think this House needs any lectures,” said Donnelly, “from someone who clearly has such scant regard for democracy that he will not even tolerate democratic debate in his own parliament.”
“YOU LIE TO PEOPLE, SPREAD DISINFORMATION”
“You limit democratic debate to two hours, and you stand here and lie to people,” McNamara responded. After being asked by the chair again to be respectful, McNamara retorted “As long as the Minister does not take the opportunity to spread disinformation.”
While Donnelly asked the chair to request McNamara to withdraw his allegation that lies had been told, the chair denied this request and simply urged Donnelly to move on with the debate.