Taoiseach promises ‘to love Finian McGrath to bits’

Super junior minister Finian McGrath has said he is “delighted” with Enda Kenny’s promise to “love him to bits” politically in order to ensure that the Government lasts.

The Taoiseach made his comments in the Dáil during the order of business, having been asked by Labour leader Brendan Howlin to address the Irish Examiner report of serious tensions in government.

On Monday, Mr McGrath, the disabilities minister, confirmed that such tensions between the Independents and Fine Gael ministers exist, saying “government is not an easy place for me to be”.

In the Dáil, Mr Kenny in a jocular moment, promised to “love Deputy McGrath to bits” along with the other Independent ministers in the new political atmosphere that exists.

Mr McGrath told the Irish Examiner he was “delighted” to hear Mr Kenny give such a commitment.

“He said a similar thing on our way into cabinet this morning so I am delighted to hear him say it to the Dáil. I stand by what I said about government not being an easy place to be, but I am here to get the job done,” said Mr McGrath.

“We are very different to the mainstream parties, yes there are tensions. It is not an easy place for me to be but I am in there to do my best. That is why we made the tough decision to go into government. It is not easy.”

Taoiseach promises ‘to love Finian McGrath to bits’

In the Dail, Mr Kenny was also asked to clarify how the situation came about that Fianna Fáil were able to nominate three of his selected 11 Seanad appointees.

There was significant surprise and annoyance last Friday when it emerged Micheál Martin had put forward Joan Freeman, founder of Pieta House, Colette Kelleher of Alzheimers Ireland, and Aer Arann boss Padraig O’Ceidigh to become senators.

But in the Dáil, Mr Kenny rejected the criticism of the appointments, saying they were part of a partnership government arrangement and said those appointed are beyond reproach. He said he asked Mr Martin to put forward the three suggestions and he said nobody could quibble with the track records and experience of the three persons involved.


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