Monday 25 September 2017

Labour and FG 'don't always see eye to eye' - Gilmore

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore. Photo: Damien Eagers
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore. Photo: Damien Eagers

Fionnan Sheahan and Colm Kelpie

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has admitted there are numerous issues where the Coalition don't "see eye to eye" amid heightened tensions between Fine Gael and the Labour Party.

But he insisted that he had a "very good relationship" with Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Mr Gilmore was speaking after he and Mr Kenny had been forced to reassure their ministers that they had not fallen out.

Tensions have been mounting within Fine Gael and the Labour Party over a series of inter-coalition spats.

These include discontent about Labour's exclusion from televised addresses on the exit from the bailout last month, as well as fallout over who had to make cuts in October's Budget.

At the end of yesterday's Cabinet meeting, Mr Kenny and Mr Gilmore had to address reports of a lack of harmony within the Coalition. They told their bemused cabinet colleagues they had a good relationship and were continuing to work together.

The comments at the Cabinet emerged following a series of reports, first in the Irish Independent, and then elsewhere, of tensions within the Coalition.

Last week, Mr Kenny and Mr Gilmore are understood to have had a discussion about a Labour Party allegation of briefing against it by Fine Gael.

RELATIONSHIP

Mr Gilmore attempted to play down talk of a rift, saying that he and the Taoiseach Mr Kenny had a "very good relationship".

He explained: "It is one of the strengths of this Government. It is a coalition Government.

"There are two parties. We have different views, different perspectives on issues, we disagree from time to time on policy issues.

"But one of the strengths of this Government is the ability of the Taoiseach and myself to be able to sit down, discuss issues and resolve difficulties.

"I have every confidence in our ability to do that for the rest of the life of our Government."

Mr Gilmore admitted that there were frequently issues of contention between the two parties.

He said: "There isn't a week that goes by that there isn't some issue. It's a coalition government.

"There are always issues. At any particular cabinet meeting there can run up to 50 items on the agenda. There are going to be issues where the two parties don't see eye to eye and we have to resolve those issues.

"The Taoiseach and I have a working relationship which enables us to do that."

Mr Gilmore added: "We've done it very successfully over the last three years and we're going to continue to do it for the remaining lifetime of the Government."

Irish Independent

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