FG Minister stands over claim that FF ‘can’t be trusted’

Willie O’Dea calls for Regina Doherty to apologise

Minister for  Social Protection Regina Doherty: “I’m saying Fianna Fáil can’t be trusted. They can’t be trusted with the economy. They can’t be trusted with the sincerity of actually saying something that people can believe in.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty: “I’m saying Fianna Fáil can’t be trusted. They can’t be trusted with the economy. They can’t be trusted with the sincerity of actually saying something that people can believe in.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty is standing over her claims that Fianna Fáil “can’t be trusted” despite calls from Willie O’Dea for her to apologise.

During a radio interview on Wednesday morning, Ms Doherty said Fianna Fáil had not raised the issue of pension rules that reduce the entitlements of some people, especially women who took time out of the workforce, during budget talks.

“The reason it didn’t appear in the budget negotiations, and I can categorically tell you that it didn’t, was because of the volume of money that it will cost to actually address this,” she told RTÉ’s “Morning Ireland”.

Fianna Fáil claimed Ms Doherty’s comments undermined the confidence and supply agreement that underpins the minority Government arrangement.

The party said its public expenditure spokesman Dara Calleary raised the problem with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.

Ms Doherty told the radio station Fianna Fáil cannot be trusted.

Social Welfare Bill

“Given that Fianna Fáil took credit for everything that was in the Social Welfare Bill, you might ask them why they didn’t get what they asked for. So I’ll just leave it at that and people can make up their own minds as to whether they did raise it or they didn’t.

“I’m saying Fianna Fáil can’t be trusted. They can’t be trusted with the economy. They can’t be trusted with the sincerity of actually saying something that people can believe in.”

It is understood Ms Doherty’s comments led senior figures in Fianna Fáil to contact their counterparts in Government to express their concern.

It is also believed there was contact between the Minister and Mr O’Dea, Fianna Fáil’ social protection spokesman.

Matter was raised

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar later clarified in the Dáil that the issue had been raised.

“With regard to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, the matter was not raised with me personally but I can confirm the matter was raised briefly in discussions between spokespeople in the run-up to the budget,” he said.

A Fianna Fáil source described Ms Doherty’s comments as “unnecessary, untrue and unhelpful”.

Ms Doherty’s spokesman said on Wednesday night, however, that she does not regret the comments.

Mr O’Dea had said a Dáil debate on a Fianna Fáil motion on the issue on Wednesday night provided the “appropriate” opportunity for Ms Doherty to apologise.

She did not issue an apology during the debate.