Michael Healy-Rae hits out at Fine Gael TD for turning down junior ministry

The Independent TD claimed Mr Griffin had been willing to take the role of chief whip, but not the portfolio he was reportedly offered
Michael Healy-Rae hits out at Fine Gael TD for turning down junior ministry

Anne Lucey

Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae has questioned why Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin refused a junior ministry after the new appointees were confirmed on Wednesday.

Mr Healy-Rae previously came under fire from his constituency colleague Mr Griffin for allegedly turning down a rural ministry in the formation of the 2016 government.

On several occasions Mr Griffin strongly criticised Mr Healy-Rae on the matter, including in 2018 when he said Mr Healy-Rae "ran for the hills" in a "despicable" act of refusing the ministry.

Mr Griffin also accused Mr Healy-Rae of having "sat on the fence", and having let the people of Kerry down.

However, on Wednesday Mr Healy-Rae re-iterated he was never offered the rural ministry in 2016, which he said Mr Griffin has refused to accept.

Mr Healy-Rae said he felt the need to speak about the matter now, given Mr Griffin had refused an actual offer.

"Is this the same Brendan Griffin that said I was offered a ministry and that it was a disgrace that I had not taken it up and I had let the people of Kerry down?" the Kilgarvan-based TD asked.

Mr Griffin said he turned down an offer of a junior ministry for "family reasons".

However, Mr Healy-Rae asked why it seemed he was willing to serve in one ministry but not another.

"If there were personal reasons to stop him now, were those personal reasons non-existent when he was canvassing for the position of chief whip last week?" Mr Healy-Rae asked.

He claimed "everyone knows" Mr Griffin was looking for the role of chief whip, adding that he had wished him well last week.

"It seems now he was able to take one, but not the other!" Mr Healy-Rae said, amid speculation Mr Griffin was instead offered a junior minister role in the Department of Health or the Department of Foreign Affairs.

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