Ministers should focus on jobs, not ‘Simon and Leo show’ – Martin

Fianna Fáil leader reminds Enda Kenny any new Taoiseach must be approved by Dáil

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has warned that Cabinet Ministers should be focusing on their jobs and not on the “Simon and Leo show”.

Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday, Mr Martin also reminded Taoiseach Enda Kenny that any change to the leadership of the Government had to be approved by the Dáil and was not an issue for “just one political party”.

The Taoiseach told Mr Martin that there was no change in leadership. “The position is that Government are focused on doing the job for the people of the country as was our remit when we were elected.”

And amid banter and heckling across the chamber, Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl said: “I note spirits are very high for whatever reason, but could members please try to curtail themselves.”


As speculation about the timing of the Taoiseach’s standing down as Fine Gael leader eased, Mr Martin sharply criticised his Cork South-Central constituency colleague, Minister for Housing Simon Coveney, about not concentrating on his job.

He told the Taoiseach Mr Coveney was in the media at the weekend “giving you a deadline and giving you a timeline in terms of when you should leave office.

“I think it would have been far more focused by the Minister if he concentrated on what is an appalling emergency for thousands of families in this country.”

Mr Martin highlighted the 25 per cent increase in homelessness in the past year, but the Taoiseach told him the current figures did not show the work that was going on as he listed the state of various projects.

Focus on job

Mr Martin said that instead of concentrating on their work, everyone was “interested in the Simon and Leo show”.

“We need the Ministers to focus on their job at hand. All we’re listening to is one Minister wants to get out of Health because it’s too hot in the kitchen,” he said of the controversy over the Fine Gael WhatsApp group message by Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan about Minister for Health Simon Harris.

TDs laughed as Mr Flanagan raised his hands as if in surrender.

There were also laughs as Mr Kenny told the Fianna Fáil leader that “young Minister Harris is enjoying the greatest honour of his career in dealing with the Department of Health”.

Mr Martin later reminded Mr Kenny that the nominee for Taoiseach and Cabinet were approved by the House and any change in the leadership had to be approved by the Dáil.

He said it was a matter “central to the entire Dáil”, as opposed to just one political party.

“We’ve had quite a number of Ministers setting out publicly your timetable,” Mr Martin told Mr Kenny. “It may not be of course your timetable, I appreciate that. But nonetheless if you have any information I think you should relay it to the House.”

Mr Kenny replied: “Let me assure you, Deputy Martin, that there is no change to the Government.”

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams told the Dáil that “chaos” was now Mr Kenny’s middle name. “Now your ministerial colleagues have brought chaos to your own party,” Mr Adams said. “Taoiseach, could you get off the chaos carousel and get back on the right track?”

Mr Kenny replied that “the carousel is different from the trampoline”, in reference to an admission by Mr Adams two years ago that he liked to trampoline naked with his dog for exercise.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times