Creighton reveals bid to gag remarks on Germany

Lucinda Creighton has said the Taoiseach and finance minister tried to gag her from publishing remarks about Germany in 2012.

Creighton reveals bid to gag remarks on Germany

Ms Creighton, during her time as European affairs minister, wrote a newspaper column in 2012 placing pressure on Germany to pay part of Ireland’s debt.

The former Fine Gael TD, who lost the party whip in 2013 when she voted against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, said she received a phone call from a high-ranking Government official — who was ringing on behalf of Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan — ordering her to pull the article.

“Word got out about the article and I got a call from the Taoiseach’s office and the Department of Finance asking me to withdraw the article,” the Renua Ireland leader said.

Relations between Germany and Ireland were still in a fragile state in 2012 as the Fine Gael-led Government had only been around a year in power and still trying to negotiate with Europe on the country’s massive debt.

The article advocated debt mutualisation which would have involved other EU members — including Germany — sharing Ireland’s debt burden, which Ms Creighton said was at odds with the Government’s strategy of remaining on good terms with Germany.

She said that, while on a ministerial trip to Cyprus in 2012, she received a call from the Department of the Taoiseach’s chief of staff, Mark Kennelly, who had “strong words” with her over the phone urging her not to go ahead with the column.

“I told him that if Michael Noonan or Enda Kenny wanted to phone me they could but I would not be taking instructions from an unelected functionary,” she said.

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The article was published the following day. However, she said this was only because she was told by The Irish Times, which was publishing the article, that the piece had already gone to print.

Ms Creighton’s Renua — which is fielding 18 candidates in the general election — is proposing a flat income tax rate of 23%.

Launching the party’s manifesto, Ms Creighton said: “We’ve gone to great lengths in developing this proposal of a flat rate of income tax to ensure that firstly, those on and beneath the minimum wage will be absolutely protected.

“So the various supports that exist, family income supplement, child benefit and so on, would be protected. But really this is about the people who are earning low, middle income salaries, who will benefit substantially.”

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