Michael McGrath believes emphatic endorsement of programme for govt will make for strong coalition

Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesperson Michael McGrath has said that the “emphatic” nature of the yes vote for the programme for government in all three parties gives the incoming coalition government a strong mandate.
Michael McGrath believes emphatic endorsement of programme for govt will make for strong coalition
Michael McGrath thinks Micheál Martin will bring great qualities to the office of Taoiseach and a wealth of experience. File photo.

Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesperson Michael McGrath has said that the

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“We will be entering a period of great challenge, there will be very major decisions to be made both on the health front and on the economic front, I think that's where we really need to hit the ground running,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.

“There are so many businesses out there that are struggling or have still not reopened, well over a million people either on unemployment support or having their wages partly paid by the State so there is no question where we need to start. It will have to be rebuilding and rebooting the economy and trying to provide the supports that are necessary.”

A range of measures will be announced in July to build on existing supports, requiring legislation in some areas, he added.

“There is a new €2bn credit guarantee scheme to provide working capital for businesses that legislation needs to pass to get that up and running into effect, provision for the warehousing of tax liabilities for small businesses so that they don't incur penalties or interest charges, that too needs to be passed.

“We will look to build on some of the existing grant supports and the loan schemes that are there, try to improve them where we can.

"We will also look to accelerate the capital investment programme for our country as an important stimulus, we will need to set out a future plan and pathway for the income supports that are there at the moment - both the pandemic payment, but also the wage subsidy scheme because employers need to plan for the future.

"So I think it is about providing certainty on all these issues and as the months go by we will be working on a more long-term, national economic recovery plan and the intention would be for that to be introduced on Budget Day come October, so that is a huge amount of work ahead.”

Mr McGrath added that today “is a really big day, I'm delighted first of all for Micheál Martin, that he looks set to be elected Taoiseach and I think he will bring great qualities to that office, a wealth of experience. I know he will be determined to make his mark and he knows the work to be done.”

Mr Martin faces the difficult task of picking his Cabinet, he added. If he was chosen for a Cabinet position it would be “a huge privilege.”

“I would certainly work morning, noon and night to do my best for people if I do get that opportunity.

“This is a historic alliance between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party and I think it is time for us all to move on and to have a more mature politics, a more reflective politics that focuses on the issues rather than attacking personalities or just being hostile for the sake of it.”

Mr McGrath went on to urge people to join a political party, of any persuasion. “Ultimately the future of the country is down to ordinary party members.

This will be a very different government because of Fianna Fáil's input, he said. “We are a party from the tradition of social democracy, we will bring different meaning and focus to this government, it will be a centre/centre-left focus, with greater state involvement in dealing with the areas of housing, health and climate change.”

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