‘I won’t be bullied or intimidated’ – John McGuinness hits back at FF colleague
OUTSPOKEN Kilkenny TD John McGuiness was involved in a heated row with a senior Fianna Fáil colleague during a stormy parliamentary party meeting this week.
The row erupted after Barry Cowen, Fianna Fáil’s spokesman on public expenditure, criticised some figures in the party for speaking in a “personal capacity” in recent interviews on subjects such as the extension of the confidence-and-supply deal, which underpins the Fine Gael-led minority government.
His remarks were understood to be aimed at Deputy McGuinness, Sligo-Leitrim TD Marc MacSharry and Laois TD Seán Fleming, the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
Deputy McGuinness has publicly spoke out against the extension of the
confidence-and-supply deal since it was agreed by his party leader, Micheál Martin, last December.
Cowen’s remarks are understood to have infuriated the Kilkenny TD, who said he would express his views and would not be “bullied, intimidated… [or] embarrassed”, according to a recount of the row published in The Irish Times.
Deputy McGuinness said TDs and Senators were being told nothing about how the party is being run. And he is understood to have said that nobody had yet seen a party report on the lengthy talks between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil which led to the confidence-and-supply extension.
Deputy McGuinness’ stance in relation to the confidence and supply agreement does not appear to have the support of his constituency colleague, Bobby Aylward.
Speaking to KilkennyNow.ie, Deputy Aylward hit out at the Government’s performance and poor handling of crises in the health system.
But he said we are living in “unprecedented times” as Brexit looms, and that Ireland “must present a unified voice” for the country’s best interests.
“If these were normal times then the overspend on the Children’s Hospital would be an election issue and we would most likely be out knocking on doors,” said Deputy Aylward.
“The Government has performed very poorly on health, particularly when you look at bed shortages, annual trolley crises, the handling of Cervical Check controversy, 24/7 Cardiac Care services for the South East, scoliosis waiting lists for children and now the failure to engage with our nurses until faced with no alternative.
“However these our unprecedented times and we must have a Government in place while Brexit escalates across the water.
“Ireland must present a unified voice for the long term interests of our country and we cannot have a similar situation which we had following the last election, when it took nearly 100 days to form a Government, in the midst of Brexit,” the Kilkenny TD added.