Independent TD Michael Lowry hit back at claims he secured a special deal with incoming Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, calling the suggestions “nasty and offensive”.
The controversial former Fine Gael minister came under fire from Labour during speeches for the nomination of Taoiseach in the Dáil, as parties debated the election of Mr Varadkar to the role.
But Labour leader Brendan Howlin took issue with reports that Mr Lowry had held two phonecalls with Mr Varadkar last week in which local needs in his Tipperary constituency were discussed.
Mr Howlin claimed a deal had been struck in which it was agreed Mr Lowry would have access to the new Taoiseach’s office regularly, as well as the help of his ministers in Cabinet.
Mr Howlin called on the new Taoiseach to refuse the support of Mr Lowry in his new administration, unlike his predecessor Enda Kenny who got the Independent TD’s backing.
The Tipperary Star reported this week that Mr Lowry spoke to the new Fine Gael leader, telling him: “I made him aware of a number of issues and from his response to me, I am happy that he understands my position and the problems facing the constituency.”
Previously a Fine Gael minister, and criticised by a tribunal for allegedly receiving payments from businessman Denis O’Brien, Mr Lowry reportedly outlined Tipperary’s needs during the calls. But Mr Lowry fired back at the criticism, saying the claim by Labour was “nasty and offensive” and that he had the same entitlements to access ministers and government as others.
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