Saturday 14 December 2019

Mary Mitchell O'Connor: Criticism comes with the territory but it is hurtful

Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor. Photo: Tom Burke
Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor. Photo: Tom Burke
Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor in Brussels talks Picture: Tom Burke Newsdesk Newsdesk

Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor has said criticisms directed at her since she took up the portfolio are "hurtful" but come with the territory.

“I’d be lying to you if I said it doesn’t [get me down], it does, it’s hurtful," she told Brendan O'Connor on Radio One today.

She has drawn ire from members of her own party, some of whom have complained that she was only given the job because of loyalty to Enda Kenny and not because of her abilities.

“It comes with the job, ministers get criticism all the time, I can take that. But actually who it really hurts are my parents. I could get a phone call at six o’clock in the morning from my mother who didn’t sleep all night," she revealed.

She also revealed a moment last week when she asked her sister to take a paper from her mother when she was in hospital because she knew she was “splashed all over it”.

However, criticism "comes with the territory" she said.

When asked if she attracted criticism because she was a woman or because she was perceived as being not up for the job she said all ministers attracted negative commentary.

"I feel I've got my fair share of criticism," she said before adding that she wasn't "schmoozing" the media but was instead focused on her job.

During the interview she defended her track record as Jobs minister and said her background as a school principal had prepared her the portfolio.

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