By David Raleigh
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, has offered his “full support” for Communications Minister Denis Naughton.
Mr Naughton has been embroiled in controversy over his contact with an Independent News and Media (INM) lobbyist about a proposed merger between INM and regional newspapers group Celtic Media.
Speaking in Limerick today, Minister Ring told RTÉ: “Denis Naughton is a colleague of mine, as somebody from the West of Ireland he has my full support and he has the full support of the Government, and to be fair to the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste, they have talked to Minister Naughton.”
“I'm quite happy now that he has cleared the position in the Dáil this week, and he has my full support, as a colleague from the west of Ireland, and as a colleague in government.”
Mr Ring described Mr Naughton as “a very good minister, and he is somebody that is working very hard”.
“He has explained what has happened, he explained it well in the Dáil this week, and I think now this issue will pass.”
Minister Ring agreed it was unfortunate Minister Naughton had apparently made his personal views known about the proposed media merger involving billionaire Denis O’Brien.
However, he added: “I have to say, in politics, there is no such thing as personal views. When you're speaking as a minister, you're speaking as a minister.
“I'm a new senior minister and he's a new senior minister, and we all learn from our mistakes,” Minister Ring added.