Taoiseach Micheál Martin was told he is "in the bottom of the barrel now" during fiery exchanges in the Dáil.
Mr Martin was responding to questions about a bus service taking cataracts patients from Cork and Kerry to Belfast for treatment.
He remarked the service had improved the electoral fortunes of some TDs and noted that Kerry representative Michael Healy Rae had been seen "approaching people outside of mass" to get them on the bus.
Michael Healy Rae calling Micheal Martin a ‘disgrace’ over this comment pic.twitter.com/PqosinXSWM— Gavin O Callaghan (@gavinocal) October 6, 2020
An angry Mr Healy Rae responded: "You should take that back. You're in the bottom of the barrel now."
Cork South West TD Michael Collins, who raised the issue during Leaders' Questions on Tuesday, accused the Taoiseach of "making a mockery of the people who are suffering".
Mr Martin apologised for any offence caused and stated his intention was to improve services in the area to prevent the need to travel to Belfast.