Sunday 26 January 2020

Mitchell O'Connor in diversity row let-off

Mary Mitchell O'Connor Picture: David Conachy
Mary Mitchell O'Connor Picture: David Conachy
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Sacked Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor will not be reprimanded by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar over her attack on the lack of diversity in his Government, the Sunday Independent has learned.

Sources close to Varadkar said he does not intend speaking to Mitchell O'Connor about her claim the Government was "not leading by example" on diversity. The source said the ­Taoiseach "will let it pass" rather than rebuke the only minister he demoted in his Cabinet reshuffle.

However, it has emerged Mitchell O'Connor is unlikely to receive an additional allowance paid to super junior ministers as it would have to be passed by a Dail vote. Fianna Fail is not prepared to support or abstain from a vote on an allowance for the minister and a Taoiseach's Office source said this means it is doubtful her pay will rise.

Meanwhile, Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty yesterday said there is a "special place in hell" for women who do not support women.

"We all recognise how more difficult it is for women to get on in this country and if we don't support each other then we are completely at a loss," she said.

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However, she added: "I think we have a very diverse group of people around the Cabinet table and it is nothing to do with men or women. You have a number of people who are gay, you have a number of people who are different religions and you have an atheist."

Former Minister of State for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy, who was the only other woman sacked by Varadkar last week said she was disappointed to see women in Government demoted.

She said a lot of progress had been made in getting women into politics through gender quotas but the next step was to see them take up ministerial portfolios.

Sunday Independent

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