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Fine Gael: John Paul Phelan calls for change of deputy leader, Pat Deering dines with Taoiseach

It was an eventful party meeting for our two local Fine Gael TDs yesterday evening.

John Paul Phelan voiced his opposition to having James Reilly as deputy party leader, while Pat Deering was invited to voice his concerns about the party over dinner with the Taoiseach.

The deputy leader of Fine Gael has accused some of those criticising his position as a way to question Enda Kenny’s leadership.

The meeting was barely minutes old last night when the issue of James Reilly’s re-appointment as deputy leader was raised.

Kilkenny’s John Paul Phelan, along with Jim Daly, Brendan Griffin and John Deasy urged the Taoiseach to reconsider the move.

Senator Reilly defended his position and accused some of those present of criticising him as a proxy to questioning Mr Kenny’s leadership.

Junior Minister Catherine Byrne spoke passionately, pleading with colleagues to stick together and telling those who couldn’t be loyal to become independents.

The Taoiseach himself received a round of applause and offered to meet those with issues for coffee – shortly afterwards he was seen dining with Carlow TD Pat Deering and Fergus O’Dowd who had been vocally critical of his leadership over the past week.