Monday 18 November 2019

Coveney 'slapped down' over his controversial comments about Fine Gael/Fianna Fail coalition

Simon Coveney
Simon Coveney

Philip Ryan, Daniel McConnell and Niall O'Connor

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney was “slapped down” by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald for his controversial comments about Fine Gael entering into coalition with Fianna Fail.

Minister Coveney told Fine Gael’s parliamentary party meeting tonight that his comments about joining forces with Fianna Fail were made before Christmas and taken out of context.

Earlier today, Mr Coveney said he would not be tied down by "civil wars baggage" and he had no "ideological issues" with both parties forming a government.

Read more: Fine Gael minister Simon Coveney: 'It's a shame coalition remarks have been interpreted as being disloyal to Labour'

Speaking at tonight’s parliamentary party meeting, Minister Fitzgerald addressed her colleagues in her capacity as chair of the party’s election committee.

Sources told the independent.ie Minister Fitzgerald did not refer to Minister Coveney by name in her contribution but it was clear she was talking about his comments about Fianna Fail.

“We love Labour, that’s the message from the top table, and it was a clearly at dig at Simon’s interview, which annoyed a lot of people,” a party member told independent.ie

Another source described Minister Fitzgerald’s contribution as a “slap down” for Minister Coveney.

Read more: Fine Gael's Simon Coveney accused of being 'disloyal' to Labour following FF remarks

At the Labour Party parliamentary party meeting, deputies also expressed anger at Minister Coveney’s remarks.

Labour members were also warned to put their name to comments in the media about internal party matters.

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