Michael Noonan dismisses speculation he is ready to call it time

Minister to be given mayoral reception in Limerick this Friday

Eugene Phelan

Reporter:

Eugene Phelan

Michael Noonan says he is 'going nowhere'

Finance minister Michael Noonan - set for mayoral reception this week

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has dismissed speculation that he is getting ready to step down in a government reshuffle saying he has no plans in that direction.

“I don’t think that there is any reshuffle coming up, unless Kieran O’Hanlon knows something I don’t know,” he said, in a reference to confirmation that the mayor of Limerick is to honour Mr Noonan this Friday with a mayoral reception, for "the work he has done for Limerick".

The move by Fianna Fail’s Cllr O’Hanlon has surprised many, as it is seen as extremely unusual for an opposition party member to honour a government minister.

“I felt that it appropriate at this point in time to honour and pay tribute to Michael Noonan for what he has done for Limerick and the region as Minister for Finance and his other ministerial roles,” explained Mayor O’Hanlon.

Speaking about the continuing speculation about his future, Mr Noonan said: “I can’t control the speculation, all I can do is keep working away and as you have seen I have been working solidly since the summer”.

”I have been meeting up with Kieran (O’Hanlon) quite a bit as we have had jobs announcements nearly every week since September. He has been there and I have been there. I am very grateful for the honour,” he added.

Minister Noonan said that he had been very busy with the Budget, the Finance bill and travelling to Brussels, dealing with the Brexit issue, plus problems in Italy and the fallout from the election of Donald Trump.

“I am in good form I have no plans in that direction,” he replied when asked about retirement.

He said that things were starting to pick up.

“The economy of the country is going well, but you always have to keep an eye on these outside events, there is an element of risk in them.”

Mayor O’Hanlon said that he had consulted with some of his colleagues before asking Minister Noonan to accept the honour.

“One of the great privileges of being mayor is that you can honour people throughout the year by having a mayoral reception. It is different than a civic reception or freedom of the city, but it is the mayor’s call on this,” he added.

Mayor O’Hanlon said that Minister Noonan had made major contributions to developments at University Hospital Limerick and work on projects like the Opera Centre and a host of different job announcements.

“While I would not agree with some of his decisions as Minister for Finance, politically, I am honouring him as mayor of Limerick for his work for Limerick," said Mayor O'Hanlon.

Limerick's Mayor added that he did not think he would get criticism from within his own party colleagues for honouring Mr Noonan later this week.