Resignation 'out of the question' for Shane Ross while Independent Alliance convinced of 'commitment' on granny flat grant

Resignation 'out of the question' for Shane Ross while Independent Alliance convinced of 'commitment' on granny flat grant
(Left to right) Finian McGrath with Minister for Transport Shane Ross, Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan and Minister of State for the Office of Public Works & Flood Relief, Kevin "Boxer" Moran. Pic: Rollingnews.ie

The Independent Alliance has been forced to admit its high-profile granny flat grant win in budget 2019, in reality, amounts to just one home and a general Fine Gael promise to "review" the scheme that is not written down in any document.

Transport Minister Shane Ross acknowledged the situation at the group's post-budget press briefing today, despite insisting there is nothing to be concerned about because "we don't need written commitments".

Speaking as Fine Gael sources privately said the granny flat grant - which would involve funds for 'empty nesters' to alter their homes and make them into multiple rental units - is unlikely to ever be extended past a single pilot home in Clondalkin, Dublin, Mr Ross said he believes the plan is a budget 2019 Alliance win.

However, asked to clarify how the scheme will work and if the agreement for a wider review amounts to anything of substance, the Transport Minister was defensive and said he is convinced the plan will be implemented.

Mr Ross said: "What [Housing Minister] Eoghan Murphy is going to do is he's going to look at it within his own budget vote, and there's a commitment to do it.

"We don't need written commitments."

When asked how he will respond if a review decides not to extend the plan, he added: "I don't think he'll decide that way."

Speaking during the same press briefing at Government Buildings, Mr Ross rejected calls from the Restaurants Association of Ireland for him to resign for "failing" the sector and not preventing the VAT hike to 13.5%.

Asked if he will consider his position, Mr Ross said this was "out of the question" and that "they won't be getting satisfaction today or tomorrow, or any day", before noting the RAI chief executive "is a very political animal, I think he stood for Fianna Fáil in a local election, he ought to declare that".

Mr Ross, Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath, junior minister for skill John Halligan and OPW minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran also rejected widespread reports the group has been struck with division throughout the budget talks, with all four saying they will run again as Independent Alliance candidates in any future general election.

Asked jokingly to respond to Fianna Fáil public expenditure spokesperson Barry Cowen's Dáil label of him as "Dickie Rock" because of his focus on "granny grants", Mr Ross demurred, before Mr McGrath added, while pointing at himself, there is nothing in common "except they've both got a good guitarist standing beside them".

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