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Saturday 3 December 2016

Finance Minister Noonan diagnosed with skin condition

Finance Minister Michael Noonan
Finance Minister Michael Noonan

Fresh concern has been raised about the health of Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Mr Noonan missed yesterday's Cabinet meeting - which was dominated by the issue of Project Eagle - after being diagnosed with cellulitis.

According to the HSE, cellulitis is a painful skin condition that causes the affected area to turn red, hot and swollen.

Mr Noonan's illness has caused concern among his Cabinet colleagues. There was speculation among some ministers yesterday that he had suffered an insect bite while in Bratislava. But his official spokesman denied that this was the case.

Mr Noonan engaged with the Cabinet meeting over the telephone and he is expected to return to work on Monday morning, according to a government spokesman.

"The minister, while not in attendance at the Cabinet meeting, took full part over the phone at various key stages," the spokesman said. "The minister is currently undergoing a course of antibiotics to treat a case of cellulitis and is expected to be back at his desk on Monday morning."

It's understood the condition does not have any link to Mr Noonan's previous health conditions. The Limerick politician has suffered from a number of health problems during his tenure as finance minister.

In June 2014, Mr Noonan announced that he was receiving treatment for cancer.

The news of Mr Noonan's illness comes as Fine Gael TDs continue to press for Taoiseach Enda Kenny to spell out his plans to step aside as leader.

Mr Kenny faced further criticism after inviting backbenchers to "shadow" ministers in a bid to gain experience.

Annoyance

The offer, made by Mr ­Kenny at the Fine Gael think-in in ­Kildare, caused great ­annoyance among some members of the party.

One deputy described the ­offer as representing 'job-bridge' for TDs, while another said it appeared the Taoiseach wants them to engage in "work experience".

Mr Kenny stunned TDs after insisting that he has no plans to step aside in the near future. A group of backbenchers have discussed the prospect of tabling a motion of no confidence in Mr Kenny if he does not step aside before the Christmas break.

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