Simon Coveney's political troubles over plans to appoint Katherine Zappone as a United Nations special envoy may have brought him unfavourable headlines, but he appears to retain the support of many people in Cork.
“It is a storm in a teacup. It is not that he is from Cork, but I think he works very hard. If he did something I don’t blame him, because that is the only mistake he has ever made,” says Martha McCarthy.
Like most others I spoke to on Patrick Street in the city on Tuesday, McCarthy believes the affair has been overblown by much of the media. “There are a lot more important things going on,” she says.
She says Coveney is "super" in his role. "I hate to say it but it is the media who are driving it, and the Opposition. I was never a Fine Gael voter but for the last two elections I have voted that way."
Eileen Matthews, from the northside of Cork city, describes Coveney as a "silly man" who has made mistakes.
“But we all make mistakes. To be honest I think [Zappone] would have been great in the job. It is all very unfortunate. I am so sorry about it. The media have had a huge role to play in this.
“The Opposition will keep it going because politics is a dirty game. They are all just picking on each other.”
Jobs for the boys
Michael Lynch from Douglas is tired of the "jobs for the boys" mentality.
“A lot of that still goes on. I think it is a disgrace. Whenever I have gone for a job interview, I have had to show qualifications. I have had to be trained to do the work. These people just walk in and because they know somebody, they get it. It is wrong.”
John Casey from Kanturk says the controversy is a "minor matter" in the grand scheme of things.
“We have bigger issues. This is nothing. The only people who care are the Opposition. I don’t know if this is big enough for even them.”
Waterford man Jim Conroy, who is down in Cork for the day so his wife can go shopping, says people "don't care" about the media storm. "I have no interest. People are hungry and have no jobs. Covid should be the main issue. People are just not interested."
Angela McCarthy from Cork city says it is “tiring to see people play cat and mouse” in politics.
“We are in a crisis as the country. These text messages really don’t deserve the front page. I saw the front page of The Irish Times at the weekend. Is this really all that is bothering us?
“I would like [Coveney] to get on with it, but he is not going to do that. If he is playing with his text messages, is it really that important? We need to move on.
"Let him go and do something like getting the America's Cup [for sailing] to Ireland. We have the Port of Cork here. It would be great."