Sinn Féin leader calls Coveney car controversy 'a storm in a teacup'

Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonald says Simon Coveney should not have a State car and driver at a cost of €200,000 per year.

The Foreign Affairs Minister has previously said he needs them for security reasons as he travels to the North frequently.

The Taoiseach, Tanaiste and Justice Minister are meant to be the only officials allowed a State car and garda driver.

The Sinn Féin leader says Simon Coveney, who is no longer the Tánaiste, should not have access to them.

"It seems that the former Taoiseach now the Táiniste (Leo Varadker) made the running on it. It also seems that the current Taoiseach and the future Táiniste (Micheál Martin) was left in the dark about it.

"You might regard it as a storm in a teacup, although it is public money which makes it a serious issue."

She said the controversy over the State car reflects how the government in her words is "very disorganized, very chaotic and shambolic."

Yesterday, a spokesperson for the government revealed that the former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar intervened to ask if Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney could keep his State car and driver service.

“The secretary general in the Department of the Taoiseach, at the request of the previous Taoiseach, did call the secretary general of the Department of Justice to ask if it was appropriate, on security grounds, for Minister Coveney to retain a security service,” the spokesman said.

“An Garda Síochána acted on this request, and this is a matter for An Garda Síochána as it is a security issue.”

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