Updated: 17/10/16 : 04:06:55
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Minister: Row with Sligo TD was 'a small little....'

A SENIOR Government Minister is searching for words to best describe her row last week with a party colleague from Sligo.

Jobs, enterprise and innovation Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor was speaking in The Sunday Business Post yesterday.

She confirmed three TDs had responded to her contribution at the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting after Budget 2017 on Tuesday.

Broad View

She did not identify Sligo TD Tony McLoughlin but The Irish Examiner already named him as one of three TDs who (collectively)  'tore strips' off the Minister.

Asked yesterday for ''your version,'' the Minister said "I was just giving them a kind of a broad view of the Budget.

"I was asked a specific question about where the advance factories were in 2017.

"I checked my phone to find out where that was. What other aspect was there to that story?" the Minister queried.

The newspaper's Business Correspondent, Jack Horgan-Jones, suggested ''a lot'' of of her colleagues, rural TDs, ''feel this Government isn't delivering for them.''

The Minister interjected in the interview to say: ''Three of them.''

MItchell O'Connor was then pressed as to whether she felt she had the support of the parliamentary party.

''I, I, yes I do. Absolutely. Listen, it was like a small little.....what would you say,'' said the Minister.

"I understand TDs and Oireachtas members want to deliver companies, IDA companies especially, in their constituency.

"That's not always possible because the IDA company coming into Ireland, the chief executive, their board of directors, decide out of this country.

''They'll decide do they want to go to Carrick on Shannon, Limerick, Cork, Castlebar.

''That's the first place, it's not Mary Mitchell O'Connor who'll decide that.''

Clarify Views

Later the Minister rang the journalist to, said the newspaper, ''clarify her views on the meeting.''

She confirmed she had made numerous attempts to leave the party meeting.

This was due to a Ministerial appointment, launching a Dublin office for telecoms giant Huawei.

"As you know you cannot be late for a Chinese event," said the Minister.

Get Down

She got "numerous messages from my private secretary to please get down to the meeting."

The Minister was asked if she was ''angry or surprised with how it played out."

Said the Minister: ''No, I'm not angry. I'm just clarifying issues. You can't get angry, life's too short....

''Our parliamentary party meetings seem to be splashed in the papers the following mornings.

''So, I suppose I wasn't surprised. But I was surprised at the tone,'' said the Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation boss.

Link: See Sligo Today 15/10/2016.