Monday 21 October 2019

FF TD quizzes Taoiseach on government deal joking Micheál Martin 'doesn't talk to me'

Finance Committee chairman John McGuinness
Finance Committee chairman John McGuinness
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

A PROMINENT Fianna Fáil TD quizzed Taosieach Leo Varadkar about the status of the Confidence and Supply deal with Fine Gael, joking that his own party leader Micheál Martin "doesn't talk to me".

The remark by John McGuinness, who's had something of a rocky relationship with Mr Martin, sparked laughter at the Finance Committee today.

He later rowed back on the comment saying: "He does talk to me actually – I have to correct the record".

Mr McGuinness took the opportunity of Mr Varadkar's appearance at the Committee to asked about the future of the deal that sees Fianna Fáil facilitate the Fine Gael-led minority government.

The deal as it stands sees Fianna Fáil support three Budgets with the next one being the last.

Mr McGuinness raised the issue saying to Mr Varadkar: "You don’t want it to drop dead I believe after the Budget?"

Mr Varadkar said he wasn't sure he wanted to comment.

But he said: "The Confidence and Supply is there. I intend to honour it and I guess I should have any conversation about that with the leader of Fianna Fáil rather than members of the Committee."

Mr McGuinness asked if the deal works for Mr Varadkar.

Mr Varadkar said it "enables the government to govern" and he added: "notwithstanding the many problems the country faces… I think we are getting a lot done."

The Fianna Fáil TD asked if renewed negotiation on the deal had started or when they're likely to.

Mr Varadkar indicated that this would be a discussion he should have with Mr Martin.

Mr McGuinness quipped: "he doesn't talk to me" to laughter at the committee.

The Taoiseach said: "I think I should have that discussion with the leader of the opposition rather than anyone else first. He’d be rightly annoyed if I was having that conversation in public."

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