FG ‘shouldn’t take lectures from those who crashed the economy’, meeting told

Published date25 May 2023
Publication titleIrish Times (Dublin, Ireland)
PAT LEAHY and SARAH BURNS Fine Gael should not take lectures from their current Coalition partners who "crashed the economy", a meeting of the party's

Senators and TDs heard last night, as a war of words within the Government deepened.

Elsewhere, at a meeting of the Fianna Fáil party, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said Junior Ministers from Fine Gael had undermined the budgetary process.

The Fine Gael meeting, however, heard widespread support for three Ministers who pushed for tax cuts in a newspaper article which led to a backlash from their Coalition partners in Fianna Fáil.

Sources at the weekly meeting said Michael Creed, the former minister for agriculture, said Fine Gael "shouldn't take lectures from those who crashed the economy" and also told the meeting that as far as he was concerned "they're still on probation in respect of their fiscal probity".

He was backed up in his comments by Senator Garret Ahearn, who said the only reason the Government was in a position to cut taxes was because Fine Gael had rebuilt the economy after Fianna Fáil had caused the crash.

Meanwhile, at the Fianna Fáil meeting Micheál Martin said the Government was engaged in a collective budgetary process and would make a collective decision on the budget. "Ministers of State writing op-eds is not helpful, it undermines this process," he told the meeting last night, urging his TDs and senators to engage with Ministers directly on suggestions or proposals, saying the budget would be guided by the programme for government.

Overall responsibility

He "underlined", sources said, that Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has overall responsibility for the budget process and said he would "insist" Mr McGrath is "given the space" to carry out this work, adding that "the public would expect no less".

Multiple contributors at the Fine Gael meeting said lowering taxes and extending the entry point for the higher rate of tax was a programme for government commitment. John Paul Phelan TD told the meeting Ireland is an outlier with its low entry point to the top rate of tax.

The pointed comments will likely add fuel to the...

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