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Taoiseach accused of 'spoofing' when asked about 'staycation subsidies'

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin was accused of "spoofing" in the Dáil when he was asked about government proposals for a 'staycation subsidy' that's expected to form part of the 'July stimulus' package.

The Irish Independent today reported that the plan which would see families able to claim back part of the cost of a meal out or hotel stay with a tax rebate is not expected to be implemented until September.

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster asked Mr Martin if it's the case that "there is absolutely nothing in the plan for families who are taking their holidays in the peak summer season?"

She said: "Children have been out of school for six months and hopefully, they will be able to return come September.

"That means that families are not in a position to take their holidays in September. "

She asked: "Are you deliberately, Taoiseach, introducing measures you know the majority of people will not be able to avail of?"

The Louth TD claimed this would "add insult to injury".

Ms Munster asked if the plan would be amended to include the peak summer months.

Mr Martin said: "I am not going into the details or announcing anything here when the Cabinet will be meeting to discuss this to finalise a variety of measures which are really about sustaining jobs and trying to create alternative employment opportunities for people over the next 12 months."

Ha added: "There will be an immediate impact from shovel-ready projects and various initiatives, but it's not just for this month. It 's right through to the end of the year and beyond."

Ms Munster attempted to press the issue.

She asked Mr Martin if he would "answer the question instead of spoofing around it" but she was told by Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl that she had run out of time.

Earlier Mr Martin told Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath that there are various mechanisms being explored by the government to stimulate domestic tourism including developing incentive to encourage people to take a weekend away in Ireland.

Mr Martin noted that the hospitality industry has been "most severely hit" by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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