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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Chief whip confident concern in ranks will not turn into open dissent

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

FINE Gael is not expecting to lose any TDs when voting on controversial social welfare cuts starts later today.

While some TDs have expressed concern about the respite care grant cut, Government chief whip Paul Kehoe is confident no Fine Gael TD will vote against the Coalition.

Some TDs say they will continue to lobby against the cut even after the votes are taken, while others are trying to find alternatives, even though these will be ruled out by Social Protection Minister Joan Burton.

One TD said he was concerned but would still vote with the Government, as he said the grant was not due to be paid until the summer. "There's time yet," he added.

Fine Gael Dublin Mid-West TD Derek Keating said he would have more influence inside the party than as an Independent.

"It's an issue I have concerns about," Mr Keating said. "But my view is I am better making my influence felt."

Inside the Fine Gael parliamentary party was the best place to be to "have any influence", he added.

Another TD worried about the respite care grant cut, Joe McHugh, a deputy for Donegal North-East, also said he would vote with the Government.

"There needs to be a reappraisal of the whole scheme," Mr McHugh added. "The sense is that there is not going to be any reversal."

Irish Independent

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