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'Being in coalition doesn't mean we're the same': Coveney on FG-FF tensions

Tánaiste Micheál Martin labelled recent Fine Gael suggestions “unhelpful”.

ENTERPRISE MINISTER SIMON Coveney has said that the government parties are not the same just because they are in coalition.

His comments come after an Irish Independent column in which Fine Gael junior ministers Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, Martin Heydon and Peter Burke jointly called for a “well-earned” tax break for workers in the next budget.

Tánaiste and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin labelled the suggestion “unhelpful”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Coveney said that the intention wasn’t to upset his coalition colleagues, but rather to share his party’s point of view.

“There are a lot of senior mature politicians in government and, you know, because we’re in a coalition, doesn’t mean we’re the same,” he said.

“Different parties have different priorities in government, and at different times, those priorities appear in newspapers and opinion pieces.

“This is no different to that.”

Coveney played down perceived tensions in government, saying that the parties “have worked well together” so far.

“Let’s be clear. Nobody’s bullying anybody,” he said.

“This is a good coalition government.

“That doesn’t mean that the parties have the same views all the time when it comes to policy and what we’re seeing now is different parties in the coalition outlining different views as to how we can use a growing strong economy to ensure that we support families across the country.”

In spite of differing views within government, Coveney said it’s time to help the “squeezed middle” – “people who are working, who are paying for everything through their taxes”.

Increased pension and welfare rates, as well as reduced childcare costs would “allow them to hold on to a little bit more of the income that they earn”.

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