There have been angry clashes in the Dáil this afternoon between Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and the Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, over ethical standards in their parties.

Mr Varadkar claimed there was what he termed "a cloud of suspicion" hanging over three Fianna Fáil TDs and a Senator.

He demanded Mr Martin clarify if deputies Lisa Chambers, Timmy Dooley and Niall Collins - as well as Senator Lorraine Clifford Lee - would be "ratified as Fianna Fáil candidates in the general election" if this "cloud of suspicion" continues to hang over them.

The Taoiseach said the three TDs were under investigation by the Dáil's ethics watchdog, the Members' Interests Committee, while Senator Clifford Lee has "still not apologised for some of the remarks that she made" on Twitter some years ago. 

He was replying to the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin who demanded to know what action Mr Varadkar was undertaking regarding a proposed investigation into the former Fine Gael TD Dara Murphy - who now works with the European Commission.

While the Dáil's Members' Interests Committee has determined it can't investigate an individual who is no longer a member of the Oireachtas, Mr Martin contended Mr Murphy could refer himself to the body under section 9 of the Ethics in Public Office Act.

Mr Varadkar replied that his advisers have engaged with Mr Murphy on a "number of options" regarding the possible investigation, but added that it is "still a work in progress."

The Taoiseach repeated that he believed there should be an inquiry, and that Mr Murphy should pay back any Dáil expenses if there is a finding against him.