Updated: 24/10/16 : 04:34:58
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Minister gets bad press before dinner in Sligo

Special Report

A CABINET colleague has questioned the capability of jobs boss Mary Mitchell O'Connor.

''I just don't think she's up to the job,'' The Irish Times quoted the (male) Minister on Saturday.

Even more caustic was a female TD who said: ''She works hard, but is not up to it.''

The mauling comes as the Minister prepares to address the annual dinner of Sligo Chamber members.

A fortnight ago three of her own party TDs ''tore strips'' off Minister O'Connor at a Fine Gael meeting.

Since Promoted

The three included Sligo TD Tony McLoughlin.....who has since been promoted to the role of Assistant Government Whip.

The Minister featured in a weekend half page profile in The Irish Times by its Deputy Political Editor, Pat Leahy.

Criticism Magnified

Minister Mitchell O'Connor also had some strong support showing in the profile.

''She's getting a hard press,'' noted one Minister: ''It takes six months to learn a brief, especially for a first-time Cabinet Minister. Give her a chance.''

Other Fine Gaelers suggested the criticism is ''magnified,'' said the newspaper, ''because she is seen as a proxy for Enda Kenny.''

''It's a way of attacking Enda without actually attacking Enda,'' one TD felt.

Criticism of the new jobs, enterprise and innovation Minister was down to sexism, some suggested.

Big Stuff

In view of her upcoming trip to Sligo, Saturday's profile had another critique -- by a supportive Ministerial colleague -- which could seem pertinent.

''She shouldn't do so much running around the country, announcing 30 or 40 jobs her and there.

Added the un-named Minister: ''She should stay in Dublin, do the big stuff, master her brief.''

Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that Tony McLoughlin earns 8,740 as a member of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly.

The Sligo TD was also made an Assistant Government Whip earlier this month with add-on yearly pay of 13,800.

This is in addition to a TDs basic salary of 87,258  -- making for a six figure basic package for the Sligo man before travel and subsistence expenses.