The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has defended a Dáil row with Pearse Doherty as 'self-defence', claiming Sinn Féin are 'bullies'.
Mr Varadkar was responding after the two launched highly personal attacks on each other in the chamber last week.
'You were prosecuted. You were found guilty.'
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty launch personal attacks on each other in the Dáil today. pic.twitter.com/aaRTBs88uy
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) June 16, 2022
The Tánaiste told Newstalk Breakfast that it "probably didn't" reflect well on politics - but is sometimes necessary.
"I won't go through the detail of it, but in my mind it was very much self-defence.
"Sinn Féin - whether it's their supporters online, or their supporters on the streets, or their politicians in the Dáil - are constantly trying to attack us personally and bully us and do us down on the Government benches.
"Every now and then, I think you have to stand up to bullies.
"I think the way they try to demonise their political opponents - sort of make out that they care about people more than us.
"It started off, let's not forget, because Pearse Doherty alleged that my party was out of touch because I'd steak and chips with Jimmy Deenihan in the members restaurant the night before - no public money involved.
"Yet they can go on their exotic, fundraising trips around the world and drink champagne, and they're totally down with normal people.
"When you have to listen to that kind of stuff day-in, day-out - I think even for your own mental health, every now and then, you have to snap back".
'You can never rule it out'
While on the issue of possible energy rationing this winter, he believes it is unlikely.
"I don't believe so - that would only arise, I think, where attempts were made at price controls.
"They never work: when you bring in price caps you either have to increase them all the time, which defeats the whole purpose, or you end up rationing energy because there's a limit on supply.
"So I think that's highly unlikely to happen, but you can never rule it out.
"We do have reserves, by the way - we have about 90 days worth of reserves for petrol and diesel, and have reserves on gas as well".