Deputy Simon Coveney is standing over his comments about the Taoiseach’s poor radio performance, and revealed his number of Twitter followers had increased five-fold — from 200 to 1,000.
He was attending the Share Your Ideas barbecue at Blackrock Castle where people got the chance to meet politicians from Fine Gael and put their views to the Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny after members of the public were invited to submit questions to a suggestion box and Deputy Kenny will respond to everyone individually.
Deputy Coveney said he accepted the apology made by the Taoiseach earlier on RTÉ News and hoped it would be the end of the matter.
He would not comment on whether or not he believed there was a drink culture in the Dáil and said he was taken aback by the response to his Tweet.
“When the country is in crisis, with jobs being lost and our sons and daughters emigrating, then people deserve better than the below-par performance delivered by the Taoiseach.
“I accept the apology from Brian Cowen and hope this is the end of the matter,” he said.
The Fine Gael TD also said Fianna Fáil had decided to make the issue about Simon Coveney, when in fact all he did was post a tweet that reflected the views of many of those who heard the interview.
Cllr Des Cahill, chief organiser of the barbecue, revealed there had been one or two angry responses from people regarding Deputy Coveney’s comments about the Taoiseach’s alleged hungover state.
However, he said most people agreed with the TD and he defended his Tweet. “He was reflecting the sentiment out there and the sense of hopelessness among people.
“This was not about Brian Cowen but about the office of Taoiseach,” he said.
Cllr Cahill added that the barbecue presented a chance for people to get their views across about how the country is being run.
Cllr Cahill, who wants to stand for Fine Gael at the next general election, said he hoped the event would help people to engage in the political process.
“People are fed up with screaming at the TV and feel no-one is listening to them. There is a disconnect with the political process.
“This event gives people another way to meet their representatives and to have their say,” he said.
Among those at the event were Deputy Deirdre Clune, Senator Jerry Buttimer and the former Lord Mayor, Cllr Dara Murphy.
Article courtesy of the Evening Echo newspaper.