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01st Feb 2022

Taoiseach’s comments branded “disgraceful” during heated argument with Pearse Doherty in the Dáil

Stephen Porzio

The pair clashed after the Taoiseach brought up the funeral of Bobby Storey.

Sinn Féin’s Deputy Leader Pearse Doherty has slammed comments made by Taoiseach Micheál Martin in relation to the funeral of Bobby Storey as “disgraceful”.

The pair became involved in a heated exchange in the Dáil on Tuesday after Doherty criticised the internal report into the champagne reception held by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in the summer of 2020, which was published on Monday.

On account of this, he called for the Taoiseach to ensure that Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney comes before the Dáil to make a statement and answer questions on the matter.

In response, Martin stated that he was “satisfied” with the investigation that has taken place.

He added that he has been very clear that the champagne reception “should not have happened” but that those involved have apologised, before criticising Sinn Féin over the controversial funeral of Bobby Storey in June 2020.

“Deputy Doherty, I’m genuinely taken back by your tone and your attitude on this one,” the Taoiseach said.

“You are the Deputy Leader of a party that invited almost 2,000 members and supporters onto the streets of Belfast and then to a political rally essentially in Milltown Cemetary at a time when the ordinary men and women that you speak about were limited… everybody else on the island was limited to 30 people at a funeral.

“To the best of my knowledge, Deputy Doherty, your organisation, you or your organisation, has never admitted that you were wrong in what you did but you lecture everybody else.

“There’s one law for Sinn Féin. There’s a different law for everybody else when it comes to this.”

The comments provoked uproar in the Dáil, with Doherty telling the Ceann Comhairle: “He’s talking about the funeral of somebody who passed away two years ago.”

While the Taoiseach stated he did not like doing so, Doherty accused him of taking “plenty of joy” from it.

“You don’t care that there is a grieving family in the middle of this,” the Sinn Féin Deputy Leader added.

“Your attempt to portray a champagne party with a funeral of a friend is disgraceful.”

The Taoiseach then reiterated that the champagne reception held by the DFA was wrong.

He told Doherty: “They’re public servants who have given long service to this state, right.

“They’ve admitted they were wrong and they’ve apologised for one minute of a breach of social guidance.

“It pales in comparison… when compared to what you organised.”

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