Wednesday 21 February 2018

Halligan gets 'box of love' from FG - but it's empty

Mary Mitchell O’Connor presenting John Halligan with a Fortnum and Mason heart- shaped box at the opening of The Packaging Hub in Waterford. Photo: Noel Browne
Mary Mitchell O’Connor presenting John Halligan with a Fortnum and Mason heart- shaped box at the opening of The Packaging Hub in Waterford. Photo: Noel Browne

Ciaran Murphy

Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell-O'Connor surprised Junior Training Minister John Halligan by presenting him with a red heart-shaped box "full of love" as a gift from Fine Gael.

The ministers were in Waterford for the official opening of the Packaging Hub's new facility, with 40 new jobs coming on stream.

Ms Mitchell-O'Connor said: "Stand up, John Halligan, because I want to make a little presentation to you today…just to show how well we work in partnership in Government.

"So I'm handing this over to you John. And there's a little message in it...It says, 'A heart full of love'."

However, the message was not received loud and clear by Mr Halligan.

He said: "I wanted to thank the minister for her kind present. I noticed the colour of the box wasn't the blue of Fine Gael, it was red. So that was nice.

"But when I opened the box I found that there wasn't anything in it. So that may be a message for me. I'm only joking.

"She tells me I'm constantly tormenting her over Waterford and the south east…it was the south east essentially that suffered during the recession, over five or six years."

Mr Halligan has threatened to leave Government if a second Cath Lab is not delivered to University Hospital Waterford (UHW).

And he confirmed he will take part in a "non-political" march today by campaigners for a second laboratory.

Mr Halligan said he is "confident" that a second cath lab for UHW could still be a reality.

Thousands are expected to take to the streets of Waterford for the '24-7 Our Lives Matter' protest march organised by the South East Patient Advocacy Group.

And despite the jokes shared with Ms Mitchell-O'Connor, Mr Halligan described the Government's stance on the issue as "very disappointing" yesterday.

Irish Independent

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