Wednesday 18 July 2018

Fine Gael accused of treating Fianna Fáil like 'a piece of dirt of their shoe'

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Fine Gael leader Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Fine Gael leader Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

A Fianna Fáil TD has accused some Fine Gael figures of treating his party like a 'piece of dirt on their shoe' in a clear escalation of tensions between the two parties.

Environment spokesperson Barry Cowen today lashed out at claims that Fine Gael would not be prepared to support a minority Fianna Fáil government under any circumstance.

The claim, which has been made by Acting Jobs Minister Richard Bruton and Dublin Bay South TD Eoghan Murphy, has caused fury within the Fianna Fail ranks because it has been made ahead of Wednesday’s vote for Taoiseach.

The remarks were also raised by Mr Martin in his first of two phone calls with Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday.

Speaking to today, Mr Cowen strongly hit out at Fine Gael over the claims.

“I am not very enamoured at the tone of Fine Gael - especially the comments by Richard Bruton,” Mr Cowen said.

“It was not helpful at all and I hope and expect the majority of Fine Gael don’t treat us like dirt on their shoe.”

The remarks were made after it emerged Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin have held a second phone conversation during which the two leaders agreed to meet after next week’s vote for Taoiseach.

Following a day of confusion, it’s emerged Mr Kenny phoned Mr Martin last night over the scheduling of government formation talks.

It was agreed that both parties will conclude their negotiations with the Independents and will speak again after Wednesday’s vote.

The follow-up phone call came late last night, on the back of a bizarre day which saw the two parties row over a text message and who initiated the first contact.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has begun briefing Independent TDs on the issue of the economy and housing.

The issue of the Universal Social Charge (USC) is also due to be discussed later.

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