Tuesday 27 September 2016

'It's all in the past' - No hard feelings after Taoiseach sacked Reilly

Geraldine Gittens

Published 14/07/2016 | 10:01

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and (right) FG deputy leader James Reilly
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and (right) FG deputy leader James Reilly

Fine Gael’s new deputy leader has said Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s decision to sack him from the job two weeks ago is all "in the past”.

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Last month, the former health minister revealed he suffered the ultimate humiliation of learning he had been officially sacked as Fine Gael deputy leader from his wife.

Mr Reilly's wife Dorothy told her husband he had been stripped of the role after she heard a radio report of a press conference given by Taoiseach Enda Kenny where he announced that his longtime political ally was no longer his deputy leader.

However, on Monday, Mr Kenny met with Dr Reilly to offer him the job once again.

Dr Reilly today would not be drawn on the issue.

“I was surprised [about losing the job as deputy leader], but that’s in the past. People are interested in the future… they want to know are they going to be able to get a house for themselves… can they get a hospital bed when they need to?” he told RTE's Morning Ireland.

James Reilly. Photo: Steve Humphreys
James Reilly. Photo: Steve Humphreys

“Things happen, and very often people ascribe a conspiracy to something that is merely something else.”

The new deputy leader said he is aware that some dissenting TDs are questioning the fact that he was chosen for the job.

“I come from a big family of 11, one of them sadly deceased, and we had our own robust discussions…”

“There are people who are unhappy and I have absolutely no problem in sitting down and talking to them.”

He said given the tight numbers of Fine Gael TDs in the Dáil, these members would have less time to attend meetings with councillors, for example.

“I thought about it overnight and clearly he (Enda Kenny) believes I can do the job.”

“I don’t believe in conjecture – the position is in the gift of the leader… I believe that the party is entitled to have internal discussion.”

“We afford people the opportunity to speak their mind and come forward.”

He added that always respected the idea that Fine Gael is a “broad church” where people within the party stand on many different sides of various issues.”

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