Thursday, February 23, 2006

In fact ah...I meant...ehh....

Trevor Sargent should get himself into internal party bother more often. Yesterday’s leaders questions provided us with more mirth and amusement and the Berties/From St. Lukes blogger should really come out of retirement soon!!! We need you.

I include the full exchanges here between Mr.Sargent and Bertie Ahern yesterday. They were talking about the Mahon Tribunal - a subject I was going to blog about (The amnesia is really bad in Leinster House, I suggest someone call a neurologist quick and surely Don Lydon who is a psychologist would have some ideas on how to cure it?)

Anyway back to yesterdays leaders questions. Bertie got his words mixed up again – can you spot where? What you won’t see here is Mary Harney giving him a verbal elbow in the ribs to correct his confusion over condemning and condoning….priceless. Miriam Lord regales us with her view from the press gallery here. (Registration required)

Mr. Sargent: The Taoiseach is aware that every day commuters, parents, children, carers, all members of our society, are affected by a legacy of bad planning. We have greater car dependency than any other country one cares to mention, greater congestion costing business billions of euro, and lack of local amenities on new housing estates. The dispersed low density sprawl is a legacy of bad planning. Does the Taoiseach accept that much of that legacy is connected with a history of Fianna Fáil corruption and abuse of power, especially on Dublin City Council?

The Taoiseach suspected some of this and set up an inquiry into allegations of corruption in Fianna Fáil. Following the newspaper reports this morning, how will the Taoiseach explain the chronic amnesia from which his lieutenants, Deputy Wright and Senator Lydon, suffer? Is there something wrong with the water in Fianna Fáil offices or is it a case, as many suspect, that Fianna Fáil is a haven for aspiring wide boys?

Before the Taoiseach sets up another inquiry will he tell us what he
plans to do with the revelations about Deputy Wright and Senator

An Ceann Comhairle: These matters are before a tribunal and in accordance with Standing Order 56 it is not appropriate to run a parallel tribunal in here.

Mr. Sargent: I would not do that. I am asking the Taoiseach about his own inquiry to which Deputy Wright and Senator Lydon told untruths. Senator Lydon kept the Taoiseach in the dark about a €7,000 donation——

An Ceann Comhairle: These matters are before a tribunal and I ask the Deputy——

Mr. Sargent: I absolutely understand that.

Mr. Eamon Ryan: It is an internal Fianna Fáil inquiry.

Mr. Sargent: Deputy Wright kept the Taoiseach in the dark about a €5,000 donation and another of €500 in 1997.

An Ceann Comhairle: Standing Order 56 does not allow discussion of matters before the tribunal.

Mr. Sargent: I am asking the Taoiseach what does he condone. That is my job here: to question the Taoiseach. I will not refer, as the Ceann Comhairle did, to a tribunal. I am simply asking the Taoiseach what he condones. Does he condone bribery, corruption and bad planning? Does he have a policy on telling untruths to a party inquiry and will he ask these two Members to step aside or does he have any standards worth talking about at all? That is a valid question for the Taoiseach. We are talking about his party and his members who lied to him.

Mr. Gormley: Hear, hear.

An Ceann Comhairle: It is not a practice of the House to——

The Taoiseach: I never condemn wrongdoing in any area.

Mr. Sargent: The Taoiseach never condemns wrongdoing.

Mr. J. O’Keeffe: The Taoiseach will meet himself coming back.

The Taoiseach: Condone. I never condone wrongdoing. We set up the Moriarty tribunal to inquire into payments to politicians.

Mr. Boyle: The House set up the tribunal.

The Taoiseach: We set up the Mahon tribunal to inquire into irregularities in the planning process, and many other inquiries, to get to the bottom of any wrongdoing going on anywhere, including in Dublin County Council. That is the position of the Government and of my party, as Deputy Sargent knows very well.

Mr. Sargent: I am asking about the Taoiseach’s inquiry.

The Taoiseach: I will fill Deputy Sargent in on my inquiry when he
fills me in on his inquiry into chemical shares.


Mr. Sargent: That is fair enough. The Taoiseach can tell me about it.

Mr. Boyle: What does the Taoiseach need to know?

Mr. Sargent: I would like to take the Taoiseach up on his offer to tell me about his inquiry.

Mr. O’Donoghue: The fox in the hen house.

Mr. Sargent: Is it credible for the Taoiseach to have a Deputy who has no recollection of receiving, cashing or having in his account a cheque for €5,000? Is it credible for the Taoiseach to accept that a Senator can take €7,000 from a property owner benefiting from a major rezoning cash windfall?

An Ceann Comhairle: Once again, I point out that these are matters before a tribunal.

Mr. Eamon Ryan: It is an internal Fianna Fáil inquiry.

Mr. Sargent: The internal inquiry conducted by Fianna Fáil is not before the tribunal.

An Ceann Comhairle: These matters are before a tribunal.

Mr. Sargent: I do not want things to fall between stools. I want to make sure that Fianna Fáil answers for what is within the Dáil remit and for which Fianna Fáil has taken responsibility.We are talking about a Senator who, with other Fianna Fáil, and some Fine Gael, councillors, was apoplectic when I asked a basic question in 1993 as to whether any councillor on Dublin City Council received a cheque. He was so poplectic that he held me in a headlock and went to grab a £100 cheque sent to the Green Party. Is that acceptable behaviour within the Taoiseach’s party? Is he going to do anything about it? Will he expel these members or sever his links with white collar crime? What must one do to be thrown out of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party? Maybe the Taoiseach can answer that.

The Taoiseach: I am certainly sorry if one of my party members caught
Deputy Sargent in a headlock in 1993. Had I been there I would have stopped him.

Mr. O’Dea: It was Giant Haystacks.

Mr. Eamon Ryan: The Taoiseach was too busy signing blank cheques at the time.

Mr. J. O’Keeffe: This is a serious issue.

The Taoiseach: This Government totally condemns any kind of wrongdoing.

Mr. Gormley: What is the Taoiseach going to do about those guys?

The Taoiseach: We have dealt with these matters in the appropriate way by setting up an inquiry.

Mr. Eamon Ryan: The Taoiseach will do nothing.

Mr. J. O’Keeffe: This is not funny.

Mr. J. Higgins: Corruption is not funny.


Post a Comment

<< Home