TDs round on minister over Hogan criticism
Fine Gael TDs have reacted angrily after a junior minister pointed the blame at Phil Hogan for the Irish Water fiasco.
Minister for State Simon Harris said the Government's mistakes in relation to the handling of the public utility "p***ed off" the public unnecessarily.
But the Wicklow TD placed the spotlight once again on the performance of European Commissioner Phil Hogan, who was the minister responsible for setting up Irish Water.
"Everybody in Government has to accept responsibility - and last time I checked, Phil Hogan was in Government at that time," he said in an interview with the Sunday Independent.
Fine Gael TDs expressed their surprise at Mr Harris's comments. Most deputies felt the remarks were unhelpful and damaging at a time the Coalition is trying to switch public attention away from Irish Water.
"It was stupid, to say the least," one Fine Gael minister said. A second senior TD described the remarks as "deeply unhelpful". A third deputy said Mr Harris "put his foot in it" and served to remind the public of "how toxic Irish Water has become in recent months".
But one deputy disagreed, adding that Mr Hogan was "instrumental" in causing some of the controversies that have shrouded Irish Water.