Dáil Éireann - Volume 394 - 07 December, 1989

Order of Business Remark.

Mr. Dukes: During the course of exchanges in this House this morning a remark that I can only describe as being an uncouth and most unworthy remark was made from the Fianna Fáil benches to my colleague, Deputy Austin Currie. It is a remark, a Cheann Comhairle, which I think is most unworthy of this House in that it shows a meanness of spirit and a poverty of political thought that is utterly to be deplored. I wrote to you, Sir, and to the Taoiseach notifying you of my intention to come in here at this time today to ask the Government to take steps to ensure that the person who made the remark, comes into this House formally to withdraw it.

[818] I might add that the remark was clearly heard on these benches. I am given to understand that it was picked up on the recording equipment in the House and I am told also that it is the unanimous recollection of the Press Gallery — against whom we could not, of course, argue — that the remark was made. It may be that one Deputy on the other side of the House was erroneously accused of having made that remark this morning, Sir, but that is all the more reason the Government should take steps to ensure that whoever made the remark should come in here and withdraw it.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy will appreciate that it is not within my power to compel any Member to attend this House or to speak in this House if he or she does not desire to do so.

Mr. Dukes: I am afraid the Government's silence merits the same description that I applied to the remark. It shows a meanness of spirit and a poverty of any political thought that the Government would not have the decency to arrange for a remark as insulting as the one that was made this morning, as partitionist, as ignorant as the one that was made this morning, to be withdrawn in this House. It is to the shame of the Taoiseach and his Chief Whip and every Member of the Government side that that remark is allowed stand.

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Mr. V. Brady): I am appalled at the behaviour of Deputy Dukes in making such strange allegations. Any remark that may have been made was not clearly heard on this side of the House and if Deputy Dukes knows who made such a remark perhaps he will communicate with me to let me know. Certainly we did not hear any remark on this side of the House, and indeed Deputy Barry very unfairly accused the Minister of State, Deputy Gallagher, of making the remark. He was totally in the wrong but he apologised and we accepted it. It is grossly unfair of Deputy Dukes to come in here now and try to make capital out [819] of this issue. As I said, if Deputy Dukes knows who made the remark he should communicate with us.

Deputy Dukes issued a press release this morning and he wrote to the Taoiseach shortly after 3 o'clock knowing that he had left for Strasbourg.

An Ceann Comhairle: This matter may not continue now.

Mr. Dukes: As I said, the remark was heard on this side of the House. It was picked up on the recording machinery and it could even feature on radio. It was heard in the Press Gallery and if the Minister of State is now saying he is like the three monkeys, that is his problem.

Minister for Energy (Mr. Molloy): There is an implication in Deputy Dukes' remarks that he is seeking to accuse everybody sitting in these benches of associating themselves with any such remark. It is very remiss of him to make an allegation when he is not able to substantiate it by naming whoever he feels has transgressed the dignity of the House in making such a remark. I certainly resent being associated with the remark which Deputy Dukes alleges he heard.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Molloy: It is quite possible for people, other than those sitting on these seats, to make remarks. It has happened at times when there was a bit of ruaille buaille. If the Deputy cannot be specific he should not have made the complaint here.

An Ceann Comhairle: Let us proceed with the Order of this House as laid down today.