MINISTER for Finance Michael Noonan was this week said to be fighting fit and ready to contest the next general election in Limerick after a black eye fuelled speculation about his health.
A spokesman for the minister confirmed this Wednesday that the Limerick TD had gone to the Mater Hospital last Friday for a routine procedure on a common eye complaint.
Minister Noonan made light of his shiner when he arrived for a meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels on Monday.
“As you can see, I’m imitating Johnny Sexton,” he said in reference to the injury sustained by the Irish out-half against France on Saturday.
Despite Minister Noonan playing down the episode, some media speculation this week made reference to a health scare last year in which the minister had radiotherapy and a cancerous lump excised. He had been forced to make a statement on that treatment only because it was about to come out in the press.
But it is understood that last Friday’s procedure was for a common eye complaint rather than a recurrence of anything more serious.
“He had been feeling some pain and discomfort and organised to go in to the Mater on Friday. As everybody now knows he was out and able to watch the rugby match on Saturday,” a spokesman said.
The Irish Independent reported on Wednesday that a consultant in Tallaght Hospital had contacted Minister Leo Varadkar on Twitter last week after becoming concerned about Minister Noonan’s eye, having seen the Limerick man on the news.
But the spokesman said Minister Noonan had already arranged to have it seen to prior to the good doctor’s intervention.
“It was a small procedure done over the weekend by pre-arranged appointment and did not in any way distract from his work as minister,” the spokesman said.
Minister Noonan has been assuring supporters in Limerick that he is fighting fit and planning to contest the next general election. Limerick’s longest-serving TD has even been out canvassing in recent weeks as he seeks to continue his record of being returned to the Dail in every general election since 1981.