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18th Dec 2018

“It doesn’t take very long for your balaclava to slip.” Leo Varadkar in heated Dáil exchange with Pearse Doherty

Conor Heneghan

Leo Varadkar Pearse Doherty

Leas-Ceann Comhairle Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher struggled to maintain order during the exchange.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty had a heated exchange in the Dáil on Tuesday, during which Varadkar made the claim that “when it comes to Sinn Féin and the rule of law… it doesn’t take very long for your balaclava to slip”.

Varadkar’s comments came following a heated discussion about recent events in Roscommon, when a number of people were injured and a dog had to be put down following an incident at a house that had been the subject of an eviction order in Strokestown.

After Doherty was critical of the manner in which the eviction was carried out and commended the public “for standing up in solidarity with the family and people who are facing eviction”, Varadkar was, in turn, critical of what he claimed was Doherty’s refusal to condemn the “thugs” involved in the incident, his criticism of the Gardaí and his dismissal of tax evasion as a serious offence.

Doherty was asked to restrain himself on a number of occasions by the Leas-Ceann Comhairle as the Taoiseach spoke, having repeatedly attempted to respond to Varadkar’s comments, using the words “disgrace” and “disgraceful” as he did.

Varadkar concluded his comments on the issue by saying: “When it comes to Sinn Féin and the rule of law, and public order and condemning violence, it doesn’t take very long for your balaclava to slip,” comments which were greeted with calls of “Hear, Hear” by members of the Dáil.

You can see the exchange below.

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