Latest: Coveney says Government should 'tone down rhetoric' and 'get on with the job'

Latest: Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said that "we should tone down the rhetoric" around the recent public disagreements in Government and "get on with doing the job".

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1's Today with Sean O'Rourke programme, Mr Coveney discussed the confidence and supply agreement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil and whether a general election would be called this year.

He said the Taoiseach wanted "certainty and continuity" given the political challenges facing Ireland.

"He would like to see early discussions on a continuation or not of the confidence and supply agreement so that we can make decisions in the interest of the country," he said.

"We don't want an election, I don't think the country wants an election; they want us to get on an provide good government in the face of the challenges the country faces."

"That's what we want to do, but we need a platform to be able to do that which provides some political certainty on the basis of a confidence and supply agreement."

On Josepha Madigan leading a prayer service in her church last week and her call to allow women to become priests, Minister Coveney said that personally he doesn't disagree with Minister Madigan's outlined perspective, but as he says that the decisions of the State and decisions in Government are a matter for politicians, decisions for the Church are a matter for the Church.

"Publicly, for me as Tánaiste, I'm happy to let the Church get on with its job and I'll get on with mine," he said.

You can listen to the full interview here:

The Government Chief Whip Joe McHugh today dismissed Micheál Martin's latest criticisms of Leo Varadkar as ''silly nonsense''.

Mr McHugh dismissed Mr Martin's criticism saying if he wants to sort it, he can pick up the phone to the Taoiseach.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Brendan Howlin has criticised "the juvenile spat" that has broken out between the Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil.

Deputy Howlin said: “The hot weather has clearly got to the Taoiseach and Michéal Martin with a war of words erupting over very little. Both want to pass the next Budget the parameters of which they have already agreed. What’s left now is to divide up where the limited additional resources will go.

“At an EU Council dominated by the migration crisis and the lack of progress on Brexit, the Taoiseach found time to stir the pot with Fianna Fáil.

“It’s clear the Taoiseach and Fine Gael want an election now, have ramped up preparations and are testing slogans but are afraid to actually call it."

“A cosy relationship has now developed over the last two and half years, and both sides are afraid to end it. It’s time both were called out on the lack of real choice they are giving the Irish people.”

Earlier: Martin says Taoiseach should not create 'spurious' grounds for an election

Micheál Martin has said that if the Taoiseach wants an election, he should call one instead of trying to create spurious grounds for it.

The Fianna Fáil leader has accused Leo Varadkar of megaphone diplomacy, and says he hasn't met the Taoiseach one to one in a year.

It is the latest salvo in a row over renewing the confidence and supply agreement propping the government up.

Fine Gael Minister Regina Doherty says that Mr Martin's claims of media spin show must be because the sun has gone to his head.

However, Mr Martin believes it's Leo Varadkar who needs to cop on.

"Maybe he wants to have an election, if he wants an election, let him call an election," he said.

"But he should not try to create spurious grounds for it or try and undermine a party that has upheld its side of the agreement in terms of the confidence and supply."

"I have made it clear since last February, we wanted to fulfil the confidence and supply agreement, we wanted to contribute to a third budget," he said.

- Digital Desk


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