TDs urged not to turn Dáil into ‘Ballymagash’ in row over photos taken in chamber

Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghaíl called on TDs not to turn the Dáil into “Ballymagash” after a row over photographs being taken in the chamber.

The row erupted after Fine Gael TD Paul Kehoe accused Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould and People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith of taking photographs in the House.

Photography in the chamber is banned and he said they were taking pictures of the electronic voting board.

Mr Kehoe said “they’re great photographers” as he referred to the death on Wednesday of veteran Irish Independent photographer Tom Burke.

Mr Kehoe asked “what are the procedures around deputies taking photographs in the chamber of the voting”.

The Wexford TD called for “action to be taken” and their phones to be confiscated.

The Ceann Comhairle said “it’s a well established fact that neither phones nor photographs should be taken or used in the chamber”.

Mr Gould then intervened and said “I’ve no problem with people knowing the way I voted.

“If the member is so worried about phones, he should talk to his leader the Tánaiste and everyone else who’re on their phone here every day of the week.”

Mr O Fearghaíl then appealed,above the heckling “Please members do not turn the chamber into a Ballymagash”, a reference to a raucous parish pump council in the 1970s satirical news programme Hall’s Pictorial Weekly.

TDs were voting on the Government motion to extend the legal framework allowing indoor hospitality restrictions to be retained until January in case there was a deterioration.

The motion was passed by 78 to 55.

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