Ross denies link between reopening Garda station and Whelan appointment

Minister says FF leader appointed partner of former taoiseach to State board

Minister for Transport Shane Ross: said he would take no lectures from Fianna Fáil on political appointments. Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister for Transport Shane Ross: said he would take no lectures from Fianna Fáil on political appointments. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has denied the reopening of Stepaside Garda station in his Dublin Rathdown constituency was part of a judicial appointment deal with Fine Gael.

Amid noisy Dáil exchanges on Wednesday night, Mr Ross, an Independent Alliance TD, said he had first heard of former attorney general Máire Whelan’s appointment to the Court of Appeal on Tuesday morning.

“When I learned about it, there was no conversation about Stepaside station,’’ he added. “There has been no link of any kind between the two.’’

Mr Ross said he had campaigned for the reopening of the station at the last election and since coming into government.

When he negotiated for its inclusion in the programme for government, the biggest “pushover’’ was Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, he added.

“And, today, he is coming back and saying it is a pork barrel deal,’’ Mr Ross added.

He said Mr Martin had visited Stepaside during the last general election campaign and supported the station’s reopening.

Mr Ross said he would take no lectures from Fianna Fáil on political appointments, particularly from Mr Martin.

He said Mr Martin, as a government minister, had appointed Celia Larkin, partner of the then taoiseach Bertie Ahern, to a State board.

There was no interview or conversation at the time, he added.