Monday 5 December 2016

Smooth Kelly tries to turn the AK47 back onto Sinn Féin

Published 06/11/2015 | 02:30

Minister for Communications Alex White, Affidea CEO Tom Finn, and Taoiseach, Enda Kenny listen to radiographer Zoe Muguni as they view a CT scanner at the official rebrand of Euromedic to Affidea Ireland and the announcement of the creation of 100 jobs over the next 18 months
Minister for Communications Alex White, Affidea CEO Tom Finn, and Taoiseach, Enda Kenny listen to radiographer Zoe Muguni as they view a CT scanner at the official rebrand of Euromedic to Affidea Ireland and the announcement of the creation of 100 jobs over the next 18 months

In Alan Kelly's native Tipperary he would be aptly described as "a man with a great welcome for himself".

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Despite the Cabinet row over his curbs on rent increases, the Environment Minister's capacity for self-welcome remains. For an hour and a half yesterday in the Dáil he sailed through questions about the housing crisis.

The Labour deputy leader was supported by Junior Housing Minister Paudie Coffey, of Fine Gael. The deep row over spiralling rents is not between Kelly and Coffey.

Sinn Féin's Laois-Offaly TD, Brian Stanley, wanted to know more about the Fine Gael-Labour rent control row.

"There have been widespread reports of the minister and his Fine Gael colleague in Cabinet having a head-to-head on this. There has been talk of Kalashnikovs and everything else."

"The Deputy would know more about this than I would," Mr Kelly shot back - cueing cat-calls about "the Army Council" from Fine Gael backbenches.

The various opposition housing spokesmen made many efforts to get a clear breakdown on the €4bn-plus plans for housing up to 2020.

Mr Kelly said this past year's Budget funded almost €800m for social housing, providing 15,900 new units.

But housing is not the only Government fault-line. Mr Kelly insisted he is not at loggerheads with Energy Minister Alex White over wind turbines.

Fine Gael's Anthony Lawlor wanted to know when the national wind turbine guidelines would be published.

Mr Kelly said it was a complex issue - best not rushed, lest errors were made. Sounds very like another job for after the General Election.

Irish Independent

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