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Michael Healy-Rae accuses certain TDs of 'waking up from a coma'

The outspoken TD thinks backbenchers are speaking up in a bid to get votes.

A FINE GAEL TD has dismissed reports the party is trying to woo independents to support them if they return to power after the general election.

Noel Coonan has said recent media coverage on the issue has been “untrue, presumptuous, and speculative”.

noel coonan Noel Coonan Source: Twitter

The Tipperary TD said he is “not surprised any Independent TD would want to join ranks and be associated with Fine Gael following our restoration of the economy, our impressive job creation record and restoring credibility both nationally and internationally”.

However, he said he has been “assured by Fine Gael that there is no truth in the claim that we approached Independent TDs”.

“This government is stable and our focus is to continue governance with the Labour party and return the current government.”

Coonan said he “would not be surprised” if this speculation was “spin created by opposition TDs to rock what is a very stable administration in the hope they can be associated with our Fine Gael party”.

“Why wouldn’t any Independent TD want to be part of our party at this stage, when we have proved our ability to turn around the mess created by the previous government; a government that was adamantly supported by some of the same Independent TDs?

At the moment they are a mixed bunch who are in a powerless and frustrated position and who made the mistake of supporting the previous government which destroyed our finances.
There is little prospect of a successful future for any Independent TD sitting in the backbenches. In contrast, we in Fine Gael have successfully steered our economy away from the brink.

Dail Scenes Michael Lowry Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Over the weekend, the Sunday Independent reported that Fine Gael was attempting to woo former Fine Gael TDs Michael Lowry and Denis Naughten, as well as Michael Healy-Rae and former Progressive Democrat Noel Grealish.

‘Waking up from a coma’

Healy-Rae said that, as the general election draws closer, there’s going to be “people staring into crystal balls and trying to figure out what’s going to happen”.

David Norris Presidential Campaigns Michael Healy-Rae Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

The Kerry South TD dismissed Coonan’s comments about independents  as “nonsense”.

I wouldn’t engage in that type of banter – if he wants to let off steam like that, he can. He’s only talking through his hat … I didn’t approach anyone.

Healy-Rae told TheJournal.ie Coonan is one of a number of backbenchers who have been “in a coma the last while” and are “starting to wake up because there’s an election around the corner”.

‘Speculation’

Naughten quit Fine Gael in 2011 over the closure of Roscommon General Hospital’s emergency department.

He told us recent media reports are “speculation at the moment”.

A lot of this speculation is premature until we see how the general election results go. If I am elected I’ll look at all options available.

Naughten said the Independent Alliance being formed by Shane Ross and others is good in theory, but will not work unless its members find common ground beyond being independent.

“At the moment Shane’s group seems to be very much a broad range of independents. The only thing that holds them together as a cohesive group is that they are independent.”

Lowry and Grealish did not respond to requests for comment.

Originally published: 6.05am

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Órla Ryan

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