Several leading Fine Gael ministers and party members have sharply rejected accusations of targeting Fianna Fáil TD Lisa Chambers in a “sinister” fashion, as claimed by Michael McGrath.
Mr McGrath in an interview with the Irish Examiner hit out at the singling out of Ms Chambers, “a new TD, a newcomer and a woman,” but Fine Gael in return has demanded an apology from Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin for demanding the resignation of then Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald in 2017.
Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said the questions being asked of Ms Chambers are merely seeking to uphold standards.
“Upholding standards now sinister! What is sinister, is an Elected Representative not knowing how to vote for herself alone, and how to take responsibility for her own actions instead of denying them,” she said.
Cork South-Central based Senator and former TD Jerry Buttimer, who is a rival candidate in the upcoming election to Mr McGrath, accused the Fianna Fáil finance spokesman of being “selective” in his attacks.
“Real Case of Michael McGrath being selective. Fianna Fail had no problem targeting Frances Fitzgerald. His party drove her from office. Yet cleared and guess what, Fianna Fáil & Micheal Martin still owes her an apology. You were all quiet then,” he said on social media.
Mr McGrath warned the upcoming general election is set to be “nasty and personalised” even though he says it puts the public off politics.
He said the tabling of a complaint by Fine Gael's Fergus O'Dowd against Ms Chambers, Fianna Fáil's Brexit spokeswoman, was “unnecessary”.
He called on all colleagues to seek to raise the tone of the campaign and “stick to the issues.”
“I would call it everyone going into this election campaign to stick to the issues and focus on the things that really matter to people and we know what those issues are in health and housing and crime and protecting the economy and so on,” he said.
“And not to go after individuals. I think what we're seeing, from Fine Gael in the tactic pursuing Lisa Chambers was particularly sinister. Because they know she is one of the star performers on the FF front bench. She's a newcomer, a new TD and she's female, and I think it is completely unnecessary,” he added.