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Dublin: 3°C Thursday 3 December 2020

It was all smiles as Enda Kenny and John Halligan shared a stage together today

John Halligan said things will come to “an agreeable solution”.

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY and junior minister John Halligan stood side by side today, despite last week’s tensions in relation to Waterford Regional Hospital.

Last week, government tensions were high, due to fears Halligan might resign as Minister of State for Skills and Training in a dispute over Waterford Hospital.

15/9/2016 Government to Launch Action Plan for Edu Taoiseach Enda kenny and Junior Minister John Halligan. Source: Sam Boal

When asked if matters had settled down, Halligan said that disagreements in government are “not unusual” and that he’s “sure it will come to an agreeable solution.”

Kenny also made reference to “valuable contributions” made by the outspoken Waterford minister.

Halligan wants a second cath lab at his local hospital (a catheterisation lab specialises in examining the heart), which he said was promised to him by ministers during government formation talks.

During that testy time, Fine Gael agreed to an independent review of University Hospital Waterford.

Health Minister Simon Harris said the independent clinical review completed by Dr Niall Herity, made clear recommendations that a second cardiac cath lab at the hospital “is not justified”.

However, Dr Herity does recommend investing in the existing cardiac services at the hospital.

John Halligan’s recent interview with the Sunday Independent – and the reaction to it – mounted pressure on Kenny during the Fine Gael think-in in Kildare earlier this week.

Instead of his party’s policies, Enda Kenny was repeatedly asked what he plans to do about the outspoken Independent Alliance junior minister.

Today, the pair appeared at an event together for the first time since the dispute erupted.

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As photographers grappled to get a shot of them together, Halligan sat down and there was a space between him and Kenny before the Taoiseach told him to sit in the middle.

Education Minister Richard Bruton then slapped Halligan on the back

In the Sunday Independent interview with Niamh Horan, Halligan said he would “rain hell down on this government” if the cath lab wasn’t delivered.

However, indications over the weekend were that Halligan had decided he will not step aside.

- With reporting by Rónán Duffy

Read: Will Enda Kenny use his newfound ‘mojo’ to sack John Halligan? >

Read: ‘I’ve got my mojo back’: Enda Kenny is moving on from a tough few months >

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