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Mr Martin’s appointment as Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) sees centrists Fianna Fáil take power for the first time in a decade – but already cracks in the regime are starting to appear. In order to celebrate Mr Martin’s appointment, Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher flew to Dublin from Brussels last Friday. In doing so he disregarded public health advice for people arriving into Ireland from overseas, ignoring the order to self-isolate for 14 days.
Instead, he chose to attend the inauguration of Mr Martin in Dublin city centre.
Mr Kelleher apologised after he was accused of blatantly flouting the rules set by his own government.
He said: “As I previously stated, I availed of Covid-19 testing services in advance of departing Brussels in order to reduce any potential public health risk.
“However, despite this, I accept that the risk could not have been eliminated fully and I should have followed HSE advice and remained at home.
“This was an error of judgment on my part and I apologise unreservedly.”
Mr Kelleher is not the only member of the leading party of the new coalition create controversy.
Mr Martin’s new Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen has spoken of his regret after being caught drink-driving.
The Offaly TD told the Irish Indpenedent newspaper he felt “humiliated” after being caught.
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The minister added that he showed “no example” to his own children.
He said: “It was a serious lapse of judgment and I wasn’t raised that way.
“I was fortunate in that there was nobody hurt, injured or maimed or killed, thankfully, but that’s not to say that will be the case in any other instance of a similar nature.”
Mr Cowan was also quizzed by gardaí as to how he reached the age of 49 without having a full driving licence.
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Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics’, Mr Cowen admitted to driving his car whilst still on a learner permit.
He now claims to have acquired a full licence.
There are now predictions of more chaos to come, with Mr Martin and Mr Varadkar, now relegated to Tanaiste (deputy prime minister) facing huge challenges.
There will be complex political wrangling over when to halt the government’s wage subsidy scheme, which is supporting more than 400,000 workers.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath told Ireland’s RTE, that the subsidy for workers furloughed because of coronavirus lockdown conditions “is a costly scheme but there are costs to not continuing it as well”.
He added: “I think this would not be the appropriate time to end the scheme.
“It will be continued.”
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