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Party to confront Kenny over Reilly's pre-Budget 'scares'

FURIOUS Fine Gael backbenchers are set to confront Enda Kenny over Health Minister James Reilly's "Budget antics".

Several TDs and senators have been left fuming over the minister's alleged attempts to "terrify the public" by leaking "fantasy" measures just days before the Budget is announced.

And a number of TDs have told the Herald today that they intend to confront leader Mr Kenny with their claims that Mr Reilly is "damaging the party".



TENSIONS

One fuming deputy argued that the Dublin North TD is "alienating himself more each and every day".

"The way he's going on is raising eyebrows to say the least. And it's definitely not impressing the party," the TD told the Herald.

The news comes just days after the Herald revealed that there are rising tensions between Finance Minister Michael Noonan and his Cabinet colleague.

Sources have claimed that Mr Noonan is "furious" at Mr Reilly for allegedly leaking issues that have left his ministerial colleagues bewildered.

But the growing unrest among Fine Gael backbenchers is sure to provoke a strong reaction from Enda Kenny.

One senior backbencher told the Herald: "He [Reilly] needs to be given a wrap across the knuckles. We're getting accused of leaking stuff from meetings when really people should be looking around the Cabinet table for the source of those leaks."

Another TD revealed that there have been talks about members about confronting Mr Kenny with their concerns.

"We may well confront him, why not? Reilly's playing some game and it's not doing him or us any favours with the public."

Mr Reilly's antics are also said to have irked his Labour colleagues, with junior minister Roisin Shortall claiming that the speculation "has caused a lot of worry and upset that is unfortunate".

Finance sources have played down "kite fliers" suggesting that the Government is preparing to smack struggling families with a €50 charge on medical cards.

However it is understood that a cut to child benefit is still very much in the picture.



Backlash

Government TDs are bracing themselves for a public backlash with Budget 2012 less than 48 hours away.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin will deliver the spending expenditure side of the Budget on Monday which will deal with issues as pensions, child benefit and health cuts.

This will be followed by further budgetary announcements on Tuesday by his cabinet colleague Michael Noonan.

Mr Noonan will deal with all tax and revenue raising measures during his speech.

hnews@herald.ie


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