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Labour fury over FG 'death wish' attack

FINE Gael and Labour were at war this weekend after a senior TD suggested that Minister Joan Burton had a "Government death wish".

FG party chairman Charlie Flanagan has sparked a fresh rift in the coalition after taking to Twitter to hit out at the Social Protection Minister.

He tweeted that Ms Burton has a "Government death wish" after she publicly questioned Phil Hogan's controversial meeting with disgraced Tipperary TD Michael Lowry.

The Herald can reveal that the controversial tweet sent shockwaves through the Labour Party and was even described as "cyber-bullying" by Galway East TD Colm Keaveney.

The outspoken deputy today publicly backed Ms Burton over her comments that Phil Hogan's meeting with Michael Lowry should never have taken place.

And he told the Herald that the "death wish" tweet by Fine Gael's chairman Charlie Flanagan was "nasty" and a form of "cyber bullying".

"Taking to Twitter to make nasty jibes like that is nothing short of cyber-bullying. It's not acceptable. Especially as Ms Burton's comments were honest and completely representative of the views of the ordinary voter," Deputy Keaveney said.

"There needs to be clarification here in relation to meetings between ministers and a man tarnished by a long-running tribunal. From the public's perspective, they want transparency from their politicians having been grossly let down by politics in general for so many years," he added.

Deputy Keaveney was the first Labour TD to break his silence on the alleged mistreatment of Joan Burton this weekend.

Senior coalition sources have admitted that there is a growing sense of anger in the Labour Party about the apparent isolation of Minister Burton by a number of Fine Gael Cabinet colleagues.

But the allegation by a popular Labour TD that Ms Burton is being "bullied" is sure to spark a fresh rift between members of both parties.

Sources say she "infuriated" Phil Hogan by publicly questioning his wisdom after it emerged he met with Michael Lowry just six days after he was tarnished by the Moriarty Tribunal.

Mr Lowry was castigated by Judge Michael Moriarty for abusing his role as Communications Minister in relation to a lucrative mobile phone licence deal.


The meeting between the pair took place on March 28 -- just days before Mr Hogan said he had "no truck" with anybody tarnished by the Tribunal.

It has since emerged that two further Cabinet ministers -- James Reilly and Michael Noonan -- also met with the Tipperary North TD.