Friday 23 March 2018

Fine Gael in frenzy over leaked Whatsapp messages on leadership

Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Tom Burke
Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

FINE GAEL is in a frenzy after a senior Cabinet minister suggested in an internal party Whatsapp group that Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald is encouraging Health Minister Simon Harris to run for the leadership.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan also posted in the group - which is made up of dozens of TDs and senators - that  Mr Harris “wants out of Health”.

But he told this evening that the remarks were a “gag” and “tongue in cheek”.

The full post by Mr Flanagan at 2.40pm today reads:

“Thanks. He hasn't announced yet but Frances is encouraging him. He wants out of Health.”

He later responded with the message: “Clarity for leakers and fake newshounds. Earlier tongue in cheek re Simon & Frances just that!”

Mr Harris, who is considering entering the leadership race, responded:

“Thanks for clarifying Charlie! Working as hard as I possibly can in my job and not engaging in speculation. Lots to do.”

Mr Flanagan then responded: “And doing a good job in difficult times.”

A senior Fine Gael source described the leaked exchange as embarrassing. It is one of many examples of details of internal what’s app conversations entering their way into the public domain.

Online Editors

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