Ex-minister believes media had 'agenda'
FORMER minister Mary Coughlan launched an astonishing attack on the media for its coverage of her handling of the FAS spending scandals.
Ms Coughlan was serving as Enterprise Minister when the story of millions of euro being overspent at the state agency began to emerge.
At one point during the scandal, the opposition blocked the Fianna Fail minister from attending a jobs mission due to concern about spending.
The Tanaiste was consistently quizzed over her decision to sign off on a €1.1m parachute deal for former FAS chief Rody Molloy.
She admitted that the government's communications strategy should have been better. But she launched a stinging attack on the media, even singling out the Irish Independent for its coverage.
"One week during the FAS story I was on the front page of the Independent for the whole week. Things were very difficult at the time, and perhaps we weren't as good as we could have been about working with the media as a party and as a government," she said.
"It was difficult for David (her husband) and the children. We banned the papers for a while in the house, so the children wouldn't see what was being written.
"Crowds of journalists would follow me, running down the road after me. . . they took most of what I said out of context."
Asked whether sections of the media had an agenda against her, Ms Coughlan replied: "That's possible."