Tossing of coin to decide junior minister ‘ludicrous’ - Martin

Idea of two candidates tossing coin to decide rotation of ministry demeans office - FF chief

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has criticised Fine Gael for failing to sort out the issue of junior ministries in advance of Friday's vote for taoiseach.

He said the vote had seen two prospective candidates tossing a coin to see which of them would first serve as a Minister of State.

Mr Martin said Fine Gael should have resolved the issue well in advance of the vote, and he was shocked to discover Independent TDs Sean Canney and Kevin Boxer Moran had tossed a coin to decide who would serve first.

"I was a bit annoyed with the way the formation of Government panned out in the end. I think there was a lack of generosity of spirit in evidence," Mr Martin told The Neil Prendeville Show on Cork's Red FM today.


‘Demeaning of office’

“The idea that two prospective junior ministers tossed a coin to determine who would become a junior minister first appalled me. I never heard of it [a coin toss for a ministry] in my life. I think it’s unprecedented and it was demeaning of the office,” he said.

“The idea that an hour before the Dáil is electing a taoiseach and government that there are people who are tossing up as to who will be minister for a year and who is going to become a minister for the following year is ludicrous.

“They were told they would be rotating a junior ministry - ‘You can’t have one each lads, you get one between ye’ so they said ‘We will toss a coin as to who gets it first’. I’m surprised they are doing it a year at a time. I asked is it two and a half years each?

“Of course their confidence in the survival of government wasn’t strong - which again is the wrong attitude and the wrong approach ... this kind of thing can undermine the prospect of the survival of the Government.”

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times