Martin accuses Varadkar of doing a deal with Dara Murphy

Martin accuses Varadkar of doing a deal with Dara Murphy
Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin at the Virgin Media Television Studios for the Election 2020 Debate. Photo: MAXWELLPHOTOGRAPHY.IE

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that anyone who “brought embarrassment” to Fine Gael is not running in this general election.

He made the comments in last night’s leaders debate with Pat Kenny on Virgin Media.

Questioned about former Cork North Central TD Dara Murphy, Mr Varadkar said: “He’s not a candidate in this general election. We’re not asking anyone to vote for him. He has said that he will cooperate with a statutory inquiry.

“The way he can do that is by writing a letter requesting an inquiry, and he should do that. We need to change the law on that.” However, Fianna Fáil leader and Cork South Central’s Micheál Martin hit back suggesting that the Taoiseach “made a deal” with Mr Murphy, and said that he endorsed and facilitated Dara Murphy working in Europe and neglecting his duties as a TD.

The Taoiseach said that while Ministers are not allowed to have another job, but TDs are.

“Any of those people who brought embarrassment to my party are not running in this election,” Leo Varadkar said.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin have again condemned the stance of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil on pensions, following last night’s first televised leader’s debate.

As Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald is set to visit Cork today, Cork South Central TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has said that his party will be the only party that will restore the State Pension to 65 years of age.

He said that neither Micheál Martin or Leo Varadkar believe people have the right to retire at 65 with a State Pension.

“We will ensure that those who wish to retire can do so with dignity and with their entitlement. A pension at 65 is a right and principle that is very much in line with the values of the Irish people,” he said.

“Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are wedded to the increases in the State Pension age. Last night’s so-called debate showed this very clearly.

“Leo Varadkar has referred to finishing up work at 65 as ‘early retirement’ while Micheál Martin continues to dodge the issue in typical Micheál Martin fashion,” he added.

“There is now a clear choice on the State Pension age at this General Election. You can vote for a state pension at 65 by voting for Sinn Féin or you can vote for continued increases to 67 and 68 by voting for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil,” Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire concluded.

Meanwhile, Solidarity TD Mick Barry has labelled Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of Irish politics.

He said that many ordinary people will be concerned by the prospect of a Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil grand coalition raised in last night’s Leaders’ Debate by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Deputy Barry said that it would be a right-wing Government of a kind not seen before in the history of the State and, in the event of a world recession, would attempt to place the burden decisively on the backs of working people.

Deputy Barry said: “Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of Irish politics. They might stage the odd Punch and Judy boxing match but they are united in opposing wealth taxes, in establishing a National Health Service or in increasing the national minimum wage to €15 an hour.

“Landlords make up one-third of all TDs in both parties. If working-class interests are to be protected, a very strong Left Opposition would be needed both in the Dáil and on the streets if Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil decide to combine,” he concluded.

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