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Quinn insists the coalition is 'rock solid'

A CABINET minister has insisted that the relationship between Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore is "rock solid".

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn today rejected suggestions of a rift between the Fine Gael and Labour leaders.

The Herald revealed on Saturday that Mr Gilmore was left furious after being "excluded" from a series of televised addresses to mark Ireland's bailout exit.

The Tanaiste took the Taoiseach to task over the issue during a private meeting between the pair this week.

It has now emerged that relations within the coalition have reached their "most strained" since its formation following the last general election.

Tensions have seeped down to the parties' advisory teams, according to both Labour and Fine Gael sources.

Responding to the claims, Mr Quinn insisted that the relationship between Mr Kenny and Mr Gilmore was "rock solid".

"Advisors for Fine Gael and advisors for Labour do their best to try and promote their side of the coalition government and their party," he told Newstalk Breakfast.

"That has always been the case, if you recall the way in which Fergus Finlay represented Dick Spring.

"I think the ultimate relationship is between the principals – between the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste – and as far as I'm concerned that is rock solid."

Both Fine Gael and Labour ministers insist that the coalition is "working well" and that any difficulties between the parties are "resolvable".

The Herald reported on Saturday that Mr Kenny and Mr Gilmore had a number of robust exchanges during a private meeting last week.

It is understood that Mr Gilmore was furious that he was the only party leader not to be afforded the opportunity to address the nation on RTE television before Christmas.



One minister this morning described the tensions as "Labour-led" and said Fine Gael figures have been "taken aback" by Mr Gilmore's charges.

"I know for a fact that the Taoiseach couldn't believe that there was such anger on the part of Labour," the minister told the Herald.

It has also emerged this morning that there has been a "marked cooling" of relations at an advisory level.

The emergence of alleged tensions will prove to be a sticking point between the parties ahead of the upcoming local and European elections.