herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Barrett, FF and SF make up after war of words

Sean Barrett has withdrawn claims the opposition was trying to undermine him
Sean Barrett has withdrawn claims the opposition was trying to undermine him

DAIL chairman Sean Barrett has made peace with Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams accepted the Ceann Comhairle's announcement that he was withdrawing allegations he made that both parties were trying to undermine him.

Mr Barrett (inset) ended six days of conflict with the parties and headed off a no-confidence motion that would have obliged him to resign.

The Ceann Comhairle accepted that the Dail rule, Order 57, under which he acted was open to different interpretations and he would engage in talks aimed at avoiding future disputes.

Crucially, he withdrew the comments made on RTE radio last Friday in which he alleged Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail were seeking to undermine him.

"I fully respect that those who took the opposite view to mine were perfectly entitled to do so," he said in a statement.

"I also accept the wording of standing order 57 could be interpreted in different ways and . . . I intend asking my colleagues on the Committee on Procedures and Privileges to meet with me to examine the possibility of making changes to ensure greater clarity in the wording of the order.

"Finally I refer to the radio interview . . . in the final part of which I was asked if I felt that the Opposition were out to undermine me.

"In the heat of the moment I replied, 'Of course they are'. On reflection, I accept this is not the case and I am happy to withdraw the comments."

Mr Micheal Martin said he appreciated the Ceann Comhairle's statement and the sincerity and honour behind it. Mr Adams also welcomed Mr Barrett's statement.

hnews@herald.ie

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