It's easy to be perched on the ditch hurling brickbats at the Government throughout this battle against Covid-19.
Two commentators did so in last weekend's Sunday Independent, questioning Fine Gael's approach to the private sector and small businesses.
Fair enough. Government is absolutely accountable to those who elect it. And criticism is only right and proper. But when considering a critique, a quick scan of the facts offers a completely different picture.
With three parties still trying to put a government together and no other party willing to even dare take on the challenge that awaits, Fine Gael has worked constantly to assist every sector in the battle against a worldwide pandemic.
I, like most TDs, am in constant contact with local businesses in the constituency as well as Chambers of Commerce and other business representative bodies.
We heard the fears, the concerns for the future, not just of business owners but also their employees. Some people risked starting their own enterprise, taking on the burden of paying wages while supporting their own families, as the country emerged from the last recession. We also heard of the hope that businesses can adapt, survive and grow - with State support.
Fine Gael, as the party of enterprise, has always supported business and entrepreneurs. Over the past two Dail terms, we have extended social welfare supports to the self-employed, including jobseekers' benefits, invalidity pension and PRSI benefits and sought to bridge the gap between PAYE and self-employed tax credits.
Our response to the unprecedented consequences of Covid-19 have been in real time and targeted.
A comprehensive suite of supports for all firms includes the wage subsidy scheme, grants, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will assist in improving cashflow in our SMEs.
When this began, Government responded with wage subsidies, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and enhanced illness benefit -worth €4.5bn over 12 weeks. We ensured the self-employed were supported under the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, something which has not happened in many other countries.
The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) and Enterprise Ireland are providing grants to help businesses get online. In fact, the trading online scheme, which provides grants of up to €5,000, has been so successful Business Minister Heather Humphreys is now looking at extending it. Established by Fine Gael as part of local government reform, the LEOs - armed with local knowledge and expertise - have become a central location for the provision of a range of government supports to all businesses.
Other incentives include €250m in restart grants for impacted businesses to help them get back on their feet.
Businesses with fewer than 10 employees can also qualify for low-cost loans with no interest or repayment for six months through Microfinance Ireland. These are only a few examples of government supports.
We were in a position to provide these measures thanks to the prudent economic work under Fine Gael in recent years. Had some of the suggestions of reckless borrowing or spending for all without a plan been implemented, we would have been firmly in the ha'penny place when Covid-19 arrived.
Approximately €12bn has been committed to businesses so far. Put simply, this has been the largest ever State intervention in terms of hard cash pumped into private business and it will continue.
Our hotels, B&Bs, bars and restaurants have been hit particularly hard. This is recognised at the highest level and they will form a key part of our National Recovery Plan. It was a Fine Gael-led government which devised the special VAT rate initiative in the last recession that was directly linked to creating 30,000 jobs. While this crisis and the impact on tourism means the response will need to be different, we will not be found wanting to devise initiatives to support a sector which has a vital economic role in every county. I remember being a newly elected TD when we entered government in 2011 with unemployment at 15pc. Last February, we were back to full employment. We can and will do it again.
It was also disappointing to see Eoghan Harris reignite the old public versus private debate, which was such a damaging feature of the last recession. During this pandemic, we have seen the Trojan contribution of so many public servants on the frontline. I don't believe it's reflective of the view of the general public who have seen public and private workers alike potentially put themselves in harm's way to provide vital services.
This is not a time for commentators to try to pit workers against each other.
There have been many calls for accelerated reopening of the country. While the desire to reopen as soon as possible is natural, it should be remembered that any such decision should be based on public health grounds as much as economic grounds or many of our citizens will not have the confidence to enter those shops or businesses if they feel the decision is only made to minimise the effects of a recession rather than because it's safer now for them to do so, because we have sufficiently suppressed the virus.
The measures implemented since March and the effort by all sectors in this country have saved thousands of lives.
However, many families have been struck in the cruellest fashion with the deaths of their loved ones. Their loss should be at the foremost of our minds as we strive to return to normal life while ensuring the safety of all.
Stay the course.
Martin Heydon TD is chairman of the Fine Gael parliamentary party