The Fianna Fáil members of the Seanad have withdrawn from the Upper House for the remainder of the day.

The party's Seanad leader, Darragh O'Brien, objected to a Government motion on the membership of committees and after a vote was called on the motion, the Fianna Fáil senators left the chamber.

A vote on the motion has taken place and the government won it with 22 senators voting in favour and 11 senators voting against.

Speaking afterwards, Mr O'Brien explained: "Fine Gael moved a motion to remove Paul Bradford, James Heffernan and Fidelma Healy Eames from three Oireachtas committees.

"We have a committee, the Committee of Selection, who usually look after changes to committees.

"But a motion was moved to go over the head of the committee and remove the three members from committees.

"Labour Senator John Kelly even said he did not want to replace James Heffernan in those circumstances."

He concluded: "We have withdrawn any co-operation and that is the first time we have ever done this."