Saturday 10 December 2016

Kelly insists 'there's no rift between myself and Joan Burton'

Published 13/12/2015 | 02:30

Alan Kelly
Alan Kelly

Environment Minister Alan Kelly has denied that there is a rift between him and his party leader Joan Burton.

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During a wide-ranging interview with Marian Finucane on RTE Radio One, Mr Kelly also denied there was a clash of personalities between himself and the Tanaiste.

He praised Ms Burton's "incredible life story" and challenged Ms Finucane to name those who claim he has a frosty relationship with the Tanaiste.

"Personalities are different and I don't think it would be in the best interests of the Labour Party if we were the same," he added.

He said "in times to come" he would like to be leader of the Labour Party but said he does not intend to dethrone Ms Burton.

"I don't do blood on the floor, if it is something that will be, it will be," he said.

He also defended his "straight-talking" style of politics, saying he is not "comfortable talking in generalisations or beating around the bush".

Mr Kelly said "politics is a drug" and during his career he has seen good days and "very difficult" days. He rounded on "anonymous keyboard warriors" who have used social media to attack him and his family. "Social media is a fantastic medium but it is also a dangerous medium. Some people think they can say whatever they want on social media and it can be incredibly hurtful," he said.

Mr Kelly said it would be a "generalisation" to say he blames former Environment Minister Phil Hogan for the chaos surrounding the establishment of Irish Water, but said the scale of setting up the State utility company was "not communicated properly".

"We needed to prepare people better for what was coming for this project," Mr Kelly said.

Sunday Independent

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