TD: Ministries wanted for ‘the money’

AS at least two Fianna Fáil TDs prepare to be promoted to senior cabinet positions, one former minister said the job is not about running the country but the “good big salaries”.

Fianna Fáil backbencher, Ned O’Keeffe, who served four years as a junior minister, said: “I don’t miss the ministry, I miss the money.”

The outspoken Cork TD said: “That’s why there is such jealousy and a rat race for ministries. It’s not about running the country and the ability to run the country. It’s about getting the bloody job, having cars and drivers.”

On the eve of Brian Cowen’s long-awaited cabinet reshuffle, Mr O’Keeffe said there was not a single person in the party who wouldn’t want one of the “very lucrative positions”.

The Cork East TD said: “They’re good-money jobs. They have a very attractive salary, very attractive pensions.”

The junior coalition partner, the Greens, will be granted an extra junior ministry position, according to Deputy O’Keeffe, because “we can’t afford to have any friction within Government”.

He told Newstalk radio: “I believe that great stability and economic stability is important and that we co-operate with the Greens and I don’t have an issue with that.”

Deputy O’Keeffe, who admitted losing more than €1 million in Irish bank shares in recent years, said the Government was “throwing good money after bad” in the nationalised Anglo Irish Bank.

“If I had my way I would have liquidated Anglo Irish. Now, a year on it’s still there and what do you do with it? We’re still throwing good money after bad but I don’t know what the real effects are on it,” he said.

He was “amazed” at the appointment of former Fine Gael leader, Alan Dukes, as the bank’s new chairman, describing him as “an overnight banker”.

Insisting he did “not agree” with the appointment, he said: “Fine fella, great fella and a very bright man, way brighter than anyone I know.

” At the end of the day he was in there as a specialist appointed by the Government. Now he’s the chairman of Anglo Irish and now he’s going to redeem the bank and our future there. End of story.”

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