Confusion as Fianna Fail councillor reportedly called 'spunkmonster' during heated exchange

A witness at the meeting told Dublin Live that a "huge row" erupted when two councillors started debating with each other.

Confusion reigned at a Dublin City Council committee meeting last night, when a Fianna Fail councillor was reportedly called a "spunkmonster" during a heated exchange - writes

The incident happened during the council's Northwest area meeting on October 17, when members of the committee debated a motion regarding the provision of co-operative housing.

According to Sinn Fein councillor Noeleen Reilly, who chaired the meeting, the debate was passing as normal before the incident occurred.

She told Dublin Live: "One of the councillors had a couple of motions about housing, and a few people had different views, which is normal. Up to that point, it wasn't bad-tempered.

"When [People Before Profit] Cllr Andrew Keegan made a contribution, it got a bit out of hand. I don't really know where it came from, but Cllr Paul McAuliffe seemed to be on the end of it."

One witness at the meeting told Dublin Live that a "huge row" erupted when the two started debating with each other.

It is understood that during the course of exchange, Cllr McAuliffe became annoyed when Cllr Keegan began to refer to him by his surname only.

The witness said: "Out of the blue Cllr Andrew Keegan started calling Paul McAuliffe names. He called him a 'spunkmonster'."

Cllr Reilly corroborated the story, but added that she interpreted the term differently.

She said: "Paul asked Cllr Keegan to stop calling him by his second name. Then there was a bit of name calling.

"Cllr Keegan called Cllr McAuliffe a name which he probably shouldn't have; he called him a 'spunkmeister'."

She added that she asked Cllr Keegan to withdraw his comments, but that the councillor refused.

She said: "He didn't seem sure what he had said that was wrong. I was giggling when I asked him to withdraw it, which probably didn't help, but it almost seemed he didn't remember what he'd said."

When contacted by Dublin Live to clarify what he said, Cllr Keegan said that he called Cllr McAuliffe a "spuckmeister".

Asked to clarify what the term meant, he said: "S-P-U-C: Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child; and 'meister' because they're the masters of 'SPUC'.

"It's not derogatory; it's exactly what that party represents after their behaviour over the weekend [when Fianna Fail members voted to take a pro-life stance in the upcoming referendum on the 8th Amendment]."

He added: "Fianna Fail have an attitude that they can butt in and start talking through the side of their mouths.

"We were informed by people in the know that they have a policy of interrupting when People Before Profit or Solidarity are speaking on certain topics.

"I called him a 'spuckmeister' after his party's behaviour over the weekend."

When asked by Dublin Live, Councillor McAuliffe played down the incident.

He said: "We were talking about co-op housing, and Councillor Keegan was speaking against the motion. He just started shouting up the table at me.

"To be honest, the chair asked him to withdraw the remark, but I hadn't even heard it. It's a non-event to me."

Cllr Reilly added that she does not expect the incident to affect the relationship between committee members at future meetings.

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