I'll be fully fit in eight weeks, says Noonan after eye surgery
FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan said he will be signed off as "fully fit" in six to eight weeks after undergoing a medical procedure to his eye last weekend.
The 71-year-old declined to say whether this latest round of surgery was linked to treatment he received early last year to remove a cancerous lump on his shoulder.
However, he said that he had been seen earlier yesterday by Mater Hospital surgeon Tim Fulcher, who confirmed his eye was "fully recovered," from last week's procedure.
The minister said he will meet the surgeon again in six-to-eight weeks when he expects to be signed off as "fully fit".
Mr Noonan was responding to questions prompted by a surgical procedure he had undergone in Dublin last Friday, that had left him with obvious swelling and a large bruise around his left eye.
The operation is the second surgery the minister has had in the past year.
The minister was speaking at an event to launch a new €400m fund to support small and medium businesses in Dublin.
Mr Noonan, a keen rugby fan, had joked with journalists in Brussels earlier in the week about his black eye when he arrived for a round of European talks.
"As you can see, I'm imitating Johnny Sexton," he said, referring to the Irish international rugby player's injury sustained in the Six Nations victory over France.
The Limerick TD flies back to Brussels today for the second time in a week for crunch talks between Greece and the rest of the "eurogroup" of euro-area finance ministers.
Yesterday, the 'Limerick Leader' in Mr Noonan's home county reported that last Friday's eye surgery had been scheduled well in advance and was not the result of Tallaght Hospital consultant James Gray's message on Twitter to Health Minister Leo Varadkar. After seeing Mr Noonan on the RTÉ 'Nine O'Clock News', Dr Gray diagnosed unilateral exopthalmus or proptosis, otherwise known as bulging of the eye, and had sent a message on Twitter to Mr Varadkar, as well as to the Department of Finance.