Sunday 25 March 2018

Final Fine Gael meeting filled with drama: Shatter takes swipe at Varadkar as Coonan lashes Kelly

TD Alan Shatter
TD Alan Shatter
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

FINE Gael TD Alan Shatter has criticised ministers who “complain in public” in a thinly veiled swipe at his party colleague and Health Minister Leo Varadkar.

Mr Shatter pointed to several shortcomings in the country’s health service and said it was a “disappointment” that Fine Gael had failed to “deliver on reforms”.

Addressing the Fine Gael parliamentary party, Mr Shatter said the Fine Gael must do much more to put an end to the “completely unacceptable” conditions in the Accident and Emergency Departments.

During a lengthy but calm contribution, Mr Shatter said that Mr Varadkar’s predecessor James Reilly had “arm-wrestled” with Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin in private “unlike what we have see more recently”.

Meanwhile, there were tense senses after Tipperary TD Noel Coonan launched a stinging attack on Environment Minister Alan Kelly, his Tipperary colleague.

Mr Coonan, seen as battling for the last seat in the newly-merged five-seat Tipperary constituency, said the Environment Minister “was not a colleague.”

He added that he believes Mr Kelly's "ego is set to burst".

TDs and Senators present at Fine Gael’s weekly parliamentary party meeting said Deputy Coonan also voiced his dissatisfaction at Ministers from his own party.

He complained that they had not mentioned his name in public discussions about the prospects of taking coalition support from Tipperary Independent TD, Michael Lowry.

At the meeting, Taoiseach Enda Kenny thanked a number of party individuals, including staff, colleagues and the chairpersons of committees.

The move is a clear indication that Mr Kenny intends to dissolve the Dáil next week - paving the way for the General Election.

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