herald

Monday 20 November 2017

'Varadkar would be worse than Coughlan'

OUTSPOKEN TD Leo Varadkar has taken a swipe at Labour leader Eamon Gilmore insisting that the only way he could be Taoiseach is in a Fianna Fail coalition.

The Fine Gael deputy made the comments after a Labour politician claimed the only thing "more frightening" than Mary Coughlan as Education Minister "would be Leo Varadkar in the same job".



Coalition

The attack by Dublin councillor Aodhan O Riordain has sparked a Labour/Fine Gael row, with Deputy Varadkar responding: "The only chance of Eamon Gilmore being Taoiseach is in coalition with Fianna Fail."

He also claimed that O Riordain, a future candidate for Dublin North-Central, would prefer to see a Fianna Fail education minister than a Fine Gael one, in the online response.

However, in a statement to the Herald, Cllr O Riordain described the remarks as "a remarkable rant".

He said: "Regardless of what Leo wishes to rant about on his website, it is clear from every poll taken in the last two years that Eamon Gilmore is the Taoiseach that the country want ... "

However, Mr Varadkar said: "You can't say you want to be Taoiseach and say you're not going to go in with Fianna Fail."

He told the Herald: "The fact he would prefer Mary Coughlan to anyone in Fine Gael says a lot."

He challenged Cllr O Riordain to state unequivocally that he would not support Fianna Fail after the next election.

Asked by the Herald if he was prepared to do this, the said: "I rule out supporting Fianna Fail in Government. After the last general election we could easily have gone in with Fianna Fail and we didn't.

"We had the numbers to do it and we didn't."

kdoyle@herald.ie

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