Alan Kelly ‘acts like only one in Cabinet’

Tipperary TD Noel Coonan has hit out at constituency colleague Alan Kelly for acting like the “only person in government”.

Mr Coonan is the second TD to become embroiled in a war of words with the environment minister this week after Independent TD Michael Lowry described him as “arrogant”.

Yesterday, Mr Coonan fiercely criticised Mr Kelly at a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting in Leinster House. Speaking after the meeting he said: “If he was that concerned about Labour going into government after the next election he should have had a better relationship with the members of the other party in government.

“He acts like he is the sole person in government and hasn’t worked with me at all in government.

Mr Coonan claimed Mr Kelly often breaks embargoes to announce jobs and funding for local community projects in his constituency for his own personal gain.

“As a backbencher I had to take flak from the general public when austerity measures were being introduced and people suffered and went through tremendous pain, especially families. Now we are in recovery and we have Kelly who wants to claim credit for everything,” he said.

Elsewhere, it has been agreed that drones are to fly over Leinster House and take pictures of the buildings ahead of major refurbishment works. The Oireachtas Committee on Procedures and Privileges last night discussed the issue.

The drone recordings, which will form part of an RTÉ documentary, would likely proceed during the quiet election period.

Substantial maintenance is needed in Leinster House in works which could take up to a year. The works will see the Seanad chamber and other areas of the house, built in 1745, closed for part of 2016 and most of 2017.

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