Frances Fitzgerald defends Taoiseach's 'whingers' remark; Lucinda Creighton brands it 'ill-advised'

The Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has been defending the Taoiseach Enda Kenny after comments he made at the weekend caused some raised eyebrows.

On Saturday, Mr Kenny said some of his Mayo constituents were "All Ireland champions" at complaining who "wouldn’t know sunshine if they saw it".

Speaking at a rally in Castlebar, Co Mayo, on Saturday evening, Mr Kenny said that, despite local investment, some people continue to criticise him over the failure to stretch the recovery to Mayo.

“God knows we have some All-Ireland champions here in Castlebar,” he said, just five days out from the general election.

“I don’t mean Castlebar Mitchell’s [the local GAA club]. I mean the whingers that I hear every week saying there’s nothing happening.”

Ms Fitzgerald said it would be completely inaccurate to see this as a general comment about the people of Mayo.

She said: "He was obviously referring to a very small group of Fianna Fáil politicians who were completely unable to see any benefit in the improving economy and that was the particular point he was making.

"So, anyone who knows Enda Kenny knows how he reaches out to people and how understanding he is of particular individual situations.

"So to elaborate from the remark he made, to see it as a general comment on the people of Mayo or indeed on anywhere else, would be completely inaccurate."

Opposition politicians have continued to attack the Taoiseach's "whinger" remarks, with Renua leader Lucinda Creighton, who is herself from Mayo, saying the comments are "unfortunate".

Ms Creighton said: "I certainly don't believe the people of Mayo are whingers, I don’t believe people of Ireland are whingers.

"Speaking as somebody who hails from the county of Mayo, whose family live in county Mayo and who have every right in a democracy to critique and analyse and express an opinion on the performance of the Government, and indeed on all of the political parties, I think those remarks were extremely unfortunate and ill-advised."


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