insults | 

Leo Varadkar says Sinn Féin contains 'murderers' and 'huge number of criminals'

"We know what your party’s attitude is to rape and paedophiles and what you’ve done in relation to that"

Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty clashed with Leo Varadkar in a bitter exchange of personal insults in the Dail (Niall Carson/PA)

Cate McCurry, PA

The Tanaiste and Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty clashed in a bitter exchange of personal insults in the Dail.

Leo Varadkar and Mr Doherty were debating the cost-of-living crisis when the Fine Gael leader was accused of being “out of touch” on the matter.

Mr Doherty, Sinn Fein’s finance spokesman said the Tanaiste should be “a bit more humble” in his response given that the DPP is considering allegations against him under the Corruption Act.

Mr Varadkar accused Mr Doherty of hurling another “cheap shot” and a very personal shot against him during leaders’ questions.

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“It says a lot about you, and the nature and the character of kind of person you are and it’s particularly strange coming from you because you were prosecuted,” Mr Varadkar added.

“You abused, mistreated An Garda Siochana.

“For that you were prosecuted, you were found guilty.

“Yes, you got away without a conviction because of your age at the time.

“But you were actually prosecuted, you were arrested.

“That’s what happened to you.

“In your party there are a huge number of convicted criminals in your party and in your wider republican family, whether that is tax dodgers like Slab Murphy, a good republican, according to Mary Lou McDonald, a good republican, a tax dodger.

“People who were convicted for murder.

“We know what your party’s attitude is to rape and paedophiles and what you’ve done in relation to that.

“So your cheap shots say a lot more about you than they do about me.”

The row erupted after Mr Doherty made comments about a dinner hosted by Mr Varadkar on Wednesday.

Mr Varadkar said the remark was a “cheap shot”.

He added: “I hosted a dinner last night to thank colleagues for their years of service and there was no public money involved.

“You host dinners in America.

“You charge people 1,000 dollars a plate to attend and your party leader flies first class to get there.

“That’s what you do in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis and I believe she’s (Mary Lou McDonald) about to announce another first-class trip to Australia, which she should be undertaking in the next couple of weeks where she’ll be clinking champagne glasses with the Trinity alumni in Australia and meeting the Australian Business Association.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar was involved in a personal exchange with Pearse Doherty (Brian Lawless/PA)

“So that’s a cheap shot, particularly coming from a hypocritical party like yours, a party that receives millions of donations from vagabonds who live in a caravan.

“A party that is one of the biggest landlords in the state and a person who operates his constituency office using public money from some sort of Republican company.

“So cheap shots, particularly coming from you, should be seen as what they are from the Irish people.”

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