Tuesday 24 October 2017

Coveney: No renegotiation of Programme for Government

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney ruled out a renegotiation of the Programme for Government despite acknowledging it had been “a very tough” Local and European Parliament election for Labour.

Mr Coveney (FG), speaking in Cork City Hall where Labour were facing a possible electoral wipe-out, stressed that it would be “madness” for the Coalition parties to panic and sanction a give-away budget.

“It would be madness to do that to be popular in the short term after a difficult election only to find that in doing that we are undoing all of the hard yards that we have had to travel over the last three years,” he said.

“We will be responsible as a Government in building on all of the sacrifices that people have made.”

“We need to move to a new, more sustainable future and I believe we will be at that place in two years time.”

“Hopefully we will be able to keep the Government to get us there.”

Mr Coveney said he had great sympathy for the FG and Labour councillors who face losing their seats nationwide.

However, he said he also believed that the surge in support for Sinn Fein and Independents represented “a protest vote rather than any sort of preference for an alternative Government.”

He also urged both Coalition parties to have the courage to stick to their course and see through the benefits over the next two years of three years of difficult choices and sacrifices.

The Cork TD warned that a knee-jerk give-away budget after a difficult election would be “madness.”

“We have asked Irish people to make extraordinary sacrifices over the last three years. They gave us a huge mandate at the last General Election to fix all of the problems that FF created. We are trying to do that.”

“We have made some mistakes clearly. We are now being punished for that. But I also believe we have made huge progress. We will learn lessons from this election campaign.”

“But the notion that this Government is somehow going to deviate from our strategy in governing Ireland to implement some kind of give-away budget to try to regain popularity in the short term and undo all of the hard work that we have asked people to do over the last three years is not going to happen.”

Mr Coveney said the primary lesson to be drawn from the Local and European Parliament elections is that Irish people want to see cost of living issues addressed to ease the pressure on families.

He vowed that this will happen as Ireland begins to reap the benefits of economic growth and financial stability.

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