A strengthening of security at Leinster House has been proposed at the meeting of the committee that adjudicates on the rules and regulations of the Oireachtas.

Last night, three gardaí attended a meeting of the Dáil Committee on Procedure and Privileges to discuss a recent incident involving a member of the public on the campus.

The committee heard that a visitor had approached a female deputy in the car park last week and verbally challenged her on her voting record on a private members' motion on Traveller rights.

No action is expected to be taken.

On foot of the incident and a protest outside Leinster House before the summer, which resulted in members being unable to leave or enter the grounds for several hours, proposals have been made to increase security.

It is understood the committee approved plans to have a separate entrance for visitors and increased lighting in the car parks and is considering installing more cameras.

It is believed a proposal to require Oireachtas members to give 24-hour notice for visitors to attend the House was rejected.

The committee is also looking at other measures including curtailing to five the number of visitors that each member can bring into the house without prior notice. This excludes tours.

A computerised visitor access system and a scanning system at the entrance are due early next year.

Row in Dáil over plans

There were angry scenes in the Dáil this afternoon when Sinn Féin Deputy Mary Lou McDonald said she was disgusted with the Ceann Comhairle and the Dáil Committee on Procedure and Privileges for making a mountain out of a mole hill on the issue.

"If TDs imagine we're to be wrapped up in cotton wool and away from the realities of life, we could do better ..." she said.

Ms McDonald said not only did the Government vote down her party's motion on Travellers’ rights, but members got "precious" about themselves because they were held to account.

Referring to the deaths of ten people in a fire in a halting site in Carrickmines, Dublin earlier this year, Ms McDonald said members should be more cognisant that ten citizens lost their lives.

Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett has responded to the remarks made by Deputy McDonald saying that he had received a formal complaint from a TD who said she had been subject to verbal abuse in the grounds of Leinster House and was obliged to referred the matter to the committee, as he was obliged to do. 

The Ceann Comhairle said that any inference that he did not discharge his functions in a proper manner was both disingenuous and untrue.

Tánaiste Joan Burton said it was a matter for the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

She accused Ms McDonald of being divisive by suggesting that others who differ politically from her did not have concerns about what happened regarding the dreadful loss of lives in Carrickmines.

"You don't have a monopoly on lecturing the rest of us on how we should respond to such events," she said.