Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Sunday 24 September 2023 Dublin: 16°C
LEAH FARRELL Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen
# Coalition
'It's pure electioneering': Barry Cowen hits out at Fine Gael
Cowen was responding to comments made by the Taoiseach yesterday.

FIANNA FÁIL’S BARRY Cowen has accused Fine Gael and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of “pure electioneering” as coalition tensions continued today.

Speaking to the Irish Times yesterday, Varadkar said that ‘middle Ireland’ continues to be his priority as he stands firm on Fine Gael’s demands in coalition.

Varadkar said that the tax package in the next budget must be “as good or bigger” than the last. Looking out for middle Ireland is “part of Fine Gael’s identity”, he said.

His comments came after tensions in the coalition earlier this week. On Monday Fine Gael junior ministers Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, Martin Heydon and Peter Burke co-wrote an article for the Irish Independent that called for a “well-earned” tax break for workers.

The proposal is estimated to cost in the region of €1.5 billion. This approach did not go down well with Fine Gael’s coalition partners.

On Wednesday, Fianna Fáil Finance Minister Michael McGrath called it an “unusual move”, and insisted he would not be bullied into acceding to Budget demands. 

Speaking today to RTÉ’s This Week programme, Barry Cowen said Fine Gael were “trying to create a divide”.

“The Taoiseach and his office should be above party politics and he should call a halt to the posturing rather than adding to it,” Cowen said.

It’s pure electioneering and playing to a base, and it’s seeking to create a divide, firmly positioning Fine Gael on a side in that divide.

Acting Justice Minister Simon Harris said that it was appropriate for Fine Gael to “make political points”.

“I don’t think there is much of a row here quite frankly and I’m a little perplexed at how it’s gotten to this point.

“The Government is working very well together, there are three parties in the coalition Government, but we are separate and distinct parties and it is entirely appropriate for a political party to make political points.

You don’t give up your right to be a political party when you enter government.

Harris said that the government was “very stable”. 

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein finance spokesman TD Pearse Doherty said the government was orchestrating a “fake fight” in response to poor polling figures.

“We have to remember that this is a government now – and it’s been played out in the public – a government who’s more interested in getting one over each other in terms of op-eds and so on than actually dealing with the crisis that people face now,” he also told RTE.

He added:

So what we have is a fake fight orchestrated by Fine Gael. Why? Because of their disastrous polling numbers.

With reporting from Mairead Maguire and Press Association

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel