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Tuesday 26 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# argy bargy
Row erupts at Fine Gael parliamentary meeting over TD's criticism of Eoghan Murphy
Bernard Durkan raised the matter of being able to discuss or criticise party policy at tonight’s meeting.

8th 856 Sam Boal / Fine Gael's Bernard Durkan criticised Eoghan Murphy last week. Sam Boal / /

THERE’S A ROW brewing in Fine Gael this evening, after a backbench TD insisted he should be able to discuss or criticise party policy at a meeting of the parliamentary party.

Last week, the Irish Times reported that Kildare North TD Bernard Durkan heavily criticised Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy at the weekly parliamentary party meeting and suggested housing was an issue that could be a problem for Fine Gael heading into next year’s general election.

Durkan was also said to have claimed at last week’s meeting he had given Minister Murphy suggestions on how to tackle the housing crisis at the party’s think-in last year, and this advice had not been acted upon. 

This meeting came a day after Murphy survived a no-confidence motion in the Dáil. 

During a meeting of the parliamentary party this evening, understands that Durkan again raised the matter and indicated that he should be free to express his opinion on such matters.

He was critical that his words were leaked to the media last week.

FG 41 Sam Boal / Ministers Regina Doherty and Eoghan Murphy. Sam Boal / /

It’s understood Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said that Durkan had raised it in an inappropriate way last week, and said that he should have had a quiet word with Murphy in the corridor about it instead.

Durkan is then understood to have responded that a meeting of the parliamentary party shouldn’t be treated as some sort of “secret club”.

As the meeting continued the matter was then discussed further with Durkan, Doherty and Kildare South TD Martin Heydon. 

At the close of tonight’s parliamentary party meeting, Durkan also approached Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to discuss the matter further. 

With Fianna Fáil abstaining, Murphy survived the no confidence vote in him last Tuesday night by 56 votes to 53.

The government is set to lose a key vote on housing this week, however, with Sinn Féin’s rent freeze bill on course to pass despite the government’s opposition. 

Sinn Féin said that housing was one of the most common issues that came up at the doorsteps ahead of May’s local and European elections earlier this year

Also at the meeting tonight, there was a presentation on insurance costs and the Taoiseach outlined that car insurance costs had come down and the next focus from government was public liability.

He said the hope is the newly-formed judicial council will bring down the costs of awards and this will impact premiums but he also told the party members that the government wouldn’t be afraid to act if this is not the case and will move to legislate on the issue if necessary.

- With reporting from Christina Finn

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