From top: Labour TD Brendan Howlin and Independent TD Michael Lowry
In the last few minutes.
Independent TD Michael Lowry responded to comments made earlier by Labour leader and TD Brendan Howlin in relation to Leo Varadkar securing Mr Lowry’s support for his nomination to the position of Taoiseach and the recent contact between the pair.
Mr Howlin said:
“I note today that you will be supported by Deputy [Michael] Lowry. I’m informed that you’ve spoken to Deputy Lowry on a couple of occasions in recent days and I read in this week’s Tipperary Star that Deputy Lowry has claimed that, in return for his support, he will have access to your office, as Taoiseach, to your officials and to your ministers. As Taoiseach, I hope you will put at end to such contact. You should not depend on his support.”
In his response, Mr Lowry said:
“Deputy Howlin, I consider your comments here today to be nasty and offensive. I have absolutely no doubt, and I’m in this house for 30 years, that your actions and your words were prompted by your deputy from Tipperary, Deputy Alan Kelly because they’d be very typical of his reaction to me in my county.
“When you attack me in such a manner, as you did today, you insult the people of Tipperary, the people who vote for me, as an elected representative from this House. And I remind you Deputy Howlin that, like every member of this House here today, I have a democratic mandate from the people of Tipperary who have voted for me consistently and put me as their representative in this House.
“I have enjoyed their confidence and their trust for over 30 years and I hope when the next election is called, they’ll re-endorse me as a member of this parliament for the constituency of Tipperary.”
“And, finally, I would say to you, Deputy Howlin, that I have exactly the same entitlements to access the system of Government as any other member of this House. My telephone conversations with Taoiseach-elect Varadkar were on the basis of the Programme for Government, for the policies which I was hoping that he would support.
“And on the basis of those two discussions that I had with him, I’m very happy to support him as Taoiseach and to continue to support this Government, particularly on budgetary matters because it’s not possible, as members of a parliament, to be clambering every other day for resources and monies to be spent on particular projects if you’re not prepared to stand up and to take the budgetary measures that are necessary to make sure there are funds available to implement the policies you seek.”
Watch Dail proceedings live here
Earlier: And Breathe…
Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy also had something to say about Michael Lowry’s support for Leo Varadkar, saying she finds it difficult to be…
“…preached to about budget responsibility by someone who’s been in the courts and who’s been with Revenue in relation to his own tax affairs. It’s hardly the kind of ethical, you know, ethical behaviour that should exemplify the kind of rebuilding of this country.”