The Irish Minister for Justice Michael McDowell has today insisted that he and his colleague the Minister for Health Tánaiste Mary Harney were completely united within the Progressive Democrats Party and in Government.
This announcement had come in light of alleged reports that relationship between the two Cabinet members McDowell tried to challenge Ms Harney's position as the leader of the junior coalition partner. It was also suggested by the Minister for Communications Noel Dempsey yesterday that the tension between the two politicians was just a distraction from their ministerial duties.
The PD government had earlier warned that all PD party members should keep internal matters out of the media spotlight. Mr McDowell reiterated today: "Both of us are completely united in where our party is going and where we are going in Government. There is no division. There is no agenda between us except to do our respective jobs." He had also stated, "At no time have I or Mary Harney taken our eyes off the ball." He insisted that the main concern for him and Ms Harney was to serve the people, and that there is no instability in the Progressive Democrats or in Government. He concluded saying, "Mary Harney and I are 100% committed to what we're doing and how we're doing it. There are no differences between us full stop."
Meanwhile Tánaiste Mary Harney has also attempted to draw a line about any tensions in her Progressive Democrats party today by insisting none of her time was being taken up with fighting Michael McDowell. She categorically stated that she had never considered resigning the party leadership during any internal power struggle with the Justice Minister last week. She said, "None of my energy is consumed by fighting with Michael McDowell, my energy is focused solely on reforming the Department of Health and Children."