Fine Gael in Government is committed to managing the country’s pandemic recovery and has the plans in place to support families and bring employment back to pre-crisis levels.
Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe; Minister for Minister for Justice, Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands, Heather Humphreys; and Colm Markey, MEP for Midlands-North West, were speaking today (Monday) at this year’s Fine Gael Parliamentary Party Think In which is being held in Trim, Co Meath.
Party members are meeting to discuss objectives and goals ahead of the busy September to Christmas period, with a particular focus on Budget 2022, the National Development Plan and Climate Plan.
Speaking today, Minister Donohoe said: “Due to the careful management of the public finances by this and previous Governments, the State had the ability to respond to the unprecedented challenges posed by Covid-19 by stepping in to shore-up incomes, to maintain employment and to provide crucial life-lines to businesses.
“In total, over €48 billion, or over a fifth of our national income, has been made available over the years 2020-2022. As the public health restrictions ease even further over the coming weeks, and more businesses reopen in our economy, we will continue to support employers to ensure they have the best possible chance to succeed.
“Budget 2022 will be framed on returning our public finances to a sustainable path whilst also continuing to invest in public services and capital infrastructure in order to return our economy to a position of strength and get our citizens back to work.”
Minister Humphreys said Fine Gael was at the forefront of rolling out unprecedented supports for workers, businesses and communities across the country since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, and the party is best placed to ensure we can get people back to work as we emerge from the crisis.
Minister Humphreys said: “When Covid hit our shores in March 2020, hundreds of thousands of workers lost their jobs virtually overnight.
“Now as we embark on our recovery from Covid, our party will ensure we get people back to work. We will do this by rolling out the Pathways to Work strategy, which aims to arm people with the tools, services and experience they need to secure quality and sustainable employment.
“Everybody deserves the opportunity to work and everybody deserves the support of the State and its services in finding that work.
“This is what Pathways to Work is all about – helping people to find a job and to keep it. Fine Gael has shown before that when our country finds itself in crisis, we are the party best placed to get Ireland back on its feet. We have done it before and we will do it again – ensuring that we support all of our citizens in realising their ambitions.”
MEP Markey said: “Last year the EU agreed an historic €1.8 trillion euro budget, including a €750 billion COVID stimulus package to help member states recover from the pandemic. Ireland’s allocation of €989 million will support the digital and green transition, which will open up enormous opportunities for rural Ireland through job creation.
“The Government’s ambitious ‘Our Rural Future’ plan is already beginning to transform our towns and villages to make them more attractive places to live, work and visit. Rural Ireland can play a central role in the recovery and help turn the ‘brain drain’ into the ‘brain gain’. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to completely revive rural Ireland in a way not seen since electrification and Fine Gael are leading the way in making that a reality.”