Tag Archives: Simon Coveney

Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar during their leadership contest in May 2017

This morning.

Fine Gael TD Simon Coveney spoke to Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One.

During their discussion, Mr O’Rourke asked Mr Coveney about Leo Varadkar’s leadership of Fine Gael following the general election result.

They had this exchange:

Seán O’Rourke: “What about the Fine Gael leadership at this time?”

Simon Coveney: “I don’t think there’s any, ehhm, moves, ehhh, ehh, to change leader in Fine Gael. I don’t think there’s any appetite for that. There’s a lot of trust in Leo Varadkar within Fine Gael. He’s only been a leader for two-and-a-half years or so.

“I think he’s only getting started. So I think Fine Gael will look at this election result, we’ll try to learn from it.

“Clearly we’ve made some mistakes and the public expressed an anger about that during this election and we need to be both realistic and humble in relation to the mistakes that we’ve made and learn from them and come back and respond to that as a political party that is, you know, deeply committed to everybody in Irish society, not just the people who vote for us but the people who voted for Sinn Féin and others as well. And we’ll do that.”

Listen back in full here.

Previously: Leoseach

Proposed deal to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland; a letter from Northern Secretary Julian Smith to the speaker of the Stormont Assembly asking him to arrange an “urgent meeting” of the Northern Ireland Assembly tomorrow; Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Mr Smith address journalists outside Stormont in Belfast tonight


In Belfast.

RTÉ’s Northern Correspondent Vincent Kearney tweetz:

“BREAKING: Irish + British governments Simon Coveney and Julian Smith say they believe they have basis for agreement to restore Stormont Assembly. Now up to Northern Ireland’s five main parties to say whether they back proposed deal.”

The 62-page proposed deal, entitled New Decade, New Approach, can be downloaded in full here.

NI proposals ‘provide basis’ for agreement – Coveney (RTÉ)

From top: *Sam eating from a cardboard sheet on Grafton Street on Tuesday night; Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty; Tánaiste Simon Coveney in the Dáil today

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions in Dáil Éireann.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty raised the picture of a five-year-old boy *Sam (not his real name) eating a pasta dinner given to him by a homeless charity while kneeling on a piece of cardboard on Grafton Street in Dublin on Tuesday night.

Just over two weeks ago, the most recent figures from the Department of Housing showed there were 10,345 people (6,490 adults and 3,848 children) living in emergency accommodation in the final week of August.

The figure represent a decrease of seven adults but an increase of 70 children compared to the figures for the final week of July. 

This afternoon, Mr Doherty addressed Tánaiste Simon Coveney when he said:

“The photograph showed a five-year-old boy eating his dinner off a sheet of cardboard on the ground in this city.

“Sam is the boy in that photograph, he’s five years old. He goes to school like any other child but Sam is homeless.

“Sam and his mum live in emergency accommodation like thousands of other families in this state.

“The Homeless Street Café, the homeless group, who met Sam on Tuesday night, made clear that his mother is trying her best to provide nutritious home-cooked meals for her children

“But, like so many parents of the homeless children of this state, they live in emergency accommodation that strictly forbids them from cooking meals for their children.

“That is Sam’s life, Tánaiste. Without a home, without the comfort and security which should be a right for every children [sic] in this State.

“That’s the life of nearly 4,000 children like Sam that have been condemned to this type of nightmare.

“There is only one place our children should be on a Tuesday night. And that is safely tucked up in their beds, in their home, with their families.

“The moral stain of child homelessness in Ireland is creating a lost generation. Children who are having their childhood stolen from them, right before our eyes.

“Stunting their development, harming their education, exposing them to hardships that no child deserves and that no society should accept.

“Behind the statistics, Tánaiste, the Minister for Housing tries to bamboozle the public with, there is a stark and dark reality of our housing crisis.

“A crisis that your government has manufactured, a crisis that many are profiting from, from the suffering of others.

“We’ve over 10,000 people recorded as homeless at the end of August of this year.

“That’s the seventh month in a row where we have those figures recorded – a 365 per cent increase during a five-year period of unending, uninterrupted, economic growth.

“And these figures don’t even provide the full picture, Tánaiste, they don’t include the women and children living in domestic violence shelters, funded by Tusla, they don’t include the adults and children living in hostels that aren’t funded by Government departments.

“And they don’t include those still living in Direct Provision, despite having secured their leave to remain.

“This is the Republic that you and your government are building. These are the parents and children you’re failing, children like Sam.

“This is not a republic of opportunity that cherishes all of the children of the nation equally.

“It is a national shame.”

More to follow.

Earlier: Dear Sam

Yesterday: ‘Sam’

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary; Tánaiste Simon Coveney

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary asked Tánaiste Simon Coveney about the Brexit deal agreed between the UK and the EU this morning – but rejected by the DUP.

He specifically asked if Mr Coveney could confirm the deal will ensure there are no border or customs checks on the island of Ireland.

He also asked if he could confirm the Good Friday Agreement is “intact” by way of this deal.

And he asked if members of the Irish government – Mr Coveney himself, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar or any of their officials – “engaged” with members of the Democratic Unionist Party in “recent days” to “see if the Irish Government can assuage their concerns, whatever they are, around this deal”.

Mr Coveney said he urged caution and while there is an agreement between UK and Brussels, “that isn’t the end of the process”.

But he said the deal recognises “all of the issues we have been raising over the past three years”.

He said it will “protect” the people on the island of Ireland, and peace and trade on the island.

He added:

“It will ensure that there are no checks, whether they be sanitary and phytosanitary, whether they regulatory cheeks, whether they be live animals, or indeed whether they be customs checks in the context of goods travelling and being traded north and south, and south and north. I think that is a very significant achievement.”

He also said:

“The bit that has changed in the Withdrawal Agreement relates to Ireland. Much of the Irish protocol remains the same on issues like the CTA and so on. But the provisions which were previously referred to as the backstop have changed.

“But we have always said that if we can replace the backstop with something else that does the same job on the key issues that I outlined earlier in terms of protecting the peace process preventing a hard border and protecting  Ireland’s place in the EU single market and customs union, if we can achieve that, then we will always look favourably on a new approach.

“As long as the outcomes were guaranteed and I believe they are. And that is why I think this is a deal that is worth supporting because it protects core Irish interests.”

Watch Dáil proceedings live here

Earlier: Done Deal

Earlier today.

In the Dáil.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney (top) responds to the UK’s latest Brexit proposal.

UK, not EU, needs to do further work on Brexit offer: Brussels (RTE)




On Virgin Media One’s The Tonight Show with Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates:

Tánaiste Simon Coveney reacts to tonight’s breaking Brexit proposals (video 1):

“We certainly haven’t seen any proposals yet. I read on various social media channels that Prime Minister Johnson is going to bring forward proposals tomorrow. Some are even saying that he’s been briefing certain EU capitals in relation to these ideas since Tuesday, we haven’t seen anything. If the reports we are reading are true it doesn’t look like the basis of an agreement, that’s for sure”.

Mr Coveney added (video 2):

“The rumour mill this evening is suggesting that there would be a four year time limit, and then a choice to be made by Northern Ireland at the end of that period. But again that’s all speculation, but I mean our position has been very clear on a time limited backstop, if it’s time limited and you can’t answer the question what happens at the end of that time period, then it’s not a backstop at all.

Earlier: Wednesday’s Papers

We Expect The British Government To Honour That Commitment’

Border, Border

Gropes Of Wrath

Boris Johnson: UK offering EU ‘very constructive’ Brexit proposals (BBC)

Thanks Nadine Maloney and Richard Waters


Tanaiste Simon Coveney outside EU headquarters after a meeting with European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier

This afternoon.

Brussels, Belgium.

The Tanaiste has said that even if a Brexit deal is agreed, Britain will have to remain part of the EU’s single market and customs union for up to four years to allow time to negotiate a free trade agreement.

Simon Coveney said there had been no “serious proposal” from Britain to break the Brexit deadlock over the Irish backstop and that “significant gaps” remained between the two sides after meeting with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, in Brussels.

Mr Coveney said that if there was a deal, a transition period of two to four years would be needed to negotiate a free trade agreement between the UK and the EU….

Good luck with that.

Ireland says Britain could have to stay part of EU for 4 years after Brexit deal agreed (Telegraph)

Earlier: Good Friday?

Pic: AP

Simon Coveney (left) and Boris Johnson in Dublin in 2017

“Boris Johnson is outlining a very clear and firm position but it is a totally unreasonable position that the EU cannot facilitate and he must know that…”

“We all want to get a deal but, at the moment, nothing credible has come from the UK government in terms of alternatives to the backstop.”

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney this morning.


British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted Britain had made alternative proposals to replace the backstop, and it was wrong of Ireland and other EU countries to suggest otherwise.

“It’s just not true,” he said.

“So it’s a cover when they keep saying: ‘You are not putting forward ideas’- we are putting forward ideas”.

Johnson ‘totally unreasonable’ in backstop dispute – Coveney (RTÉ)


Tánaiste Simon Coveney


Listen back here