Leo Varadkar clashes with his own TDs over budget spending promises in moody meeting

TÁNAISTE Leo Varadkar clashed with a number of his own TDs over budget spending promises at a moody meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party.

r Varadkar accused his own TDs of believing a “false narrative” that Fine Gael lost its reputation for fiscal responsibility after former ministers Charlie Flanagan and Michael Creed both criticized recent spending pledges.

Mr. Creed asked if there was a difference between Fine Gael and Mick Barry, the People Before Profit TD.

Several attendees criticized Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe’s lack of consultation with backbench MPs on the measures to be announced in next week’s budget and the impending decision to increase the corporate tax rate in Ireland.

A source said the meeting was proof that “the anti-Leo group is starting to escalate it.”

Mr Flanagan, a former justice minister, told the meeting that there was an “uncontrollable train” of public spending pledges, that no one cared about fiscal prudence and called on the Tánaiste to ” introduce an element of common sense “into the current debate.

Mr Creed, a former agriculture minister, said the party lacks basic identity and cannot spend money fast enough. He also spoke out against a pandemic bonus, calling it “ridiculous” and saying it “would cost a fortune and blow up in our face.”

Mr Varadkar later said he had heard the view from his party and the public that a cash bonus for civil servants was a bad idea, but said no decision had been made by the government.

Mr. Varadkar, however, hit back at his own TDs, saying he was hurt to hear them believe a “false story” that Fine Gael was no longer financially responsible.

He told them to read the Summer Economic Statement, pointing out that it was published “on the World Wide Web” and insisted that the plan was to close the budget deficit by 2023 so that the government borrows only for capital investments.

He described this as the “golden rule” that had been advocated by Richard Bruton when he was the party’s finance spokesman, with former Fine Gael taoisigh Liam Cosgrave, Garret FitzGerald and John Bruton and l former Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

In a response described as “robust”, Mr. Varadkar told his TDs that they should tell him if they were spending commitments they did not want the government to honor.

He named an enhanced mica repair program, a Mother and Bay Homes compensation program, a social assistance program, a modest tax program and additional funding for the third level sector and the defense forces as government commitments.

In a separate exchange during the online meeting, Mr Bruton, chairman of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, clashed with Carlow-Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan who claimed there had been a lack of debate on the budget next week and the decision on the corporate tax rate in Ireland. .

After Mr Bruton insisted he facilitated the debate at last week’s meeting, Mr Phelan repeatedly pointed out that this discussion only lasted 45 minutes.

Mr Creed then praised Mr Varadkar’s response and said members need to hear more. Earlier, the Cork North-West TD had said that Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, the leader of the Green Party, had established himself as the custodian of all transport projects in the National Development Plan and that his ability to “frustrate them. , scramble, delay and derail “could not be overstated.

Mr. Flanagan raised the lack of clarity on a program for new guard stations.

Limerick TDs Patrick O’Donovan, who is the OPW minister, and Kieran O’Donnell have also criticized suggestions that the long-planned M20 Limerick-Cork motorway could be downgraded as a result suggestions from the Green Party.

Drs Colm Burke and Brendan Griffin and Senator Jerry Buttimer have raised concerns about hospital services in the southwest of the country.

Meanwhile, Mr Donohoe said he would only recommend Ireland accepting the OECD’s global corporation tax deal if it was the right thing for jobs. in the country.

Unlike the meeting of their Coalition colleagues, the meeting of the parliamentary party Fianna Fáil this evening was much quieter, with the Taoiseach absent on his return from Slovenia.

Brendan Smith, party chairman, chaired a meeting dominated by a discussion with Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien on the national housing crisis.

Dun Laoghaire TD Cormac Devlin raised concerns about rising fuel costs, particularly natural gas, and was supported by Paul McAuliffe and others.

Mr Devlin stressed the need to increase social protection and fuel allowance, as well as increase the income thresholds for the medical card.

The need for the resumption of Nitelink bus services in Dublin was also raised after the National Transport Authority confirmed on Wednesday that there were no plans to resume the schedule from October 22, when most Latest Covid-19 restrictions are expected to be lifted and nightclubs are reopening.

TD said the situation was unsatisfactory and called for pressure on Transport Minister Eamon Ryan – the leader of the Green Party – to intervene directly to restore service and provide people with a transportation option. public late at night.

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