There was applause and hugs as the Public Health Alcohol Bill, which Health Minister Simon Harris described as “groundbreaking”, passed last night almost three years after it was first introduced.
A small group of rural TDs engaged in further filibustering last night to hold up the passage of the much-delayed alcohol bill.
Despite repeated warnings from Leas Ceann Comhairle Pat The Cope Gallagher to refrain from straying off topic when discussing amendments, rural deputies spoke at length in opposition to the bill.
Rural TDs repeatedly called for votes on amendments to the bill during the debate, despite not having enough to force a full vote.
Mr Harris was accused of “talking down” to a rural TD opposed to his bill, which will add cancer warnings to bottles of alcohol.
Cork South West TD Michael Collins took the minister to task and accused him of being high-handed in his commentary when he was dismissing amendments from rural TDs.
Kerry TDs Michael and Danny Healy-Rae were rounded on by other TDs for seeking to delay the bill.
Sinn Féin’s Jonathan O’Brien intervened in frustration: “Why are we debating this again? Well, I know why. Can we not get on with this... this bill is going to pass.
Source: Daniel McConnell and Elaine Loughlin, Irish Examiner, 4th October 2018