Tag Archives: Paschal Donohoe

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe

Last night.

Government Buildings. Dublin 2.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe announced that tax revenues were down 18.6% – or €983 million – compared to July last year. ..


This morning.


Sam Boal/Rollingnews

This evening.

The Department of Finance announces:

The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD, has today (Thursday) been elected as President of Eurogroup of Finance Ministers, succeeding Portugal’s Mario Centeno. His term will commence on 13 July, and he will serve for 2.5 years in the role.

Minister Donohoe was elected by his fellow Euro Area Finance Ministers at a meeting of the Eurogroup held by video conference. The other candidates were Minister Nadia Calviño of Spain, and Minister Pierre Gramegna of Luxembourg.

The Eurogroup is the body through which Finance Ministers of the 19 Euro area Member States take decisions on policy issues relating to management of the Euro area economy. Finance Ministers of the eight Member States who are not part of the Euro area frequently attend meetings given the importance of the issues under discussion.

The Eurogroup President has a vital role in shaping the agenda and policy response to major economic issues, including the economic impact of the present COVID-19 pandemic. Minister Donohoe is one of the longest-serving EU Finance Ministers and members of the Eurogroup.



Hanseatic League?


Paschal Donohoe has been elected president of the Eurogroup (The Irish Times)

Yesterday: Intensive canvassing before Paschal Donohoe’s Eurogroup bid


This afternoon.

Save yourselves, for pity’s sake.

Exchequer returns reveal €6.1bn deficit in May as Covid-19 spending soars (RTÉ)


This afternoon.

Government Buildings, Dublin 2.

Via The Irish Times:

In a briefing to the media following Friday’s Cabinet meeting, Mr Varadkar said secondary schools and primary schools will reopen fully at the start of the school year.


He said it may not be possible for every pupil to attend every school for the whole day every day at the start of school term but the intention was to revert to that as quickly as possible.


Katherine Zappone, the Minister for Children, also confirmed that childcare facilities will reopen with “playpods” for young children, with up to six infants aged under one being allowed in a single playpod….



Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe meanwhile said that the temporary wage subsidy scheme will now apply to people returning to work from maternity leave, and from paternity leave.

Govt intends to reopen primary and secondary schools at end of August (RTÉ)

Taoiseach has confirmed schools will reopen at the end of August (Irish Times)

Earlier: ‘Behaving As Though Every Home Still Had A Stay At Home Mother’

Photocall Ireland


Previously: €44,000 Paid Per Private Bed In April

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe (above) was interviewed by Bryan Dobson. It followed his department saying that it expected Ireland to run a deficit of at least 7.5 per cent or €23 billion this year.

They had this exchange:

Bryan Dobson: “The supports that are available to people who are losing their jobs or are on short time payment, the pandemic payment, unemployment payment. And the wage subsidy – more than a million people now receiving some sort of payment from the State and it expires in the middle of next month. Will it be extended?”

Paschal Donohoe: “Well, we’re going to be dealing with this now across the next few weeks, Bryan. And then we’ll be in a position to outline a pathway for both of those payments. They are going to continue in a form but the level of those payments and how they will be made available to the economy is something that the Government will make a decision on soon.

“The reason why we need to be careful about these payments is two-fold. The first one is they’re working, they’re working keeping people in a job or if you have lost a job, they’re working in helping our citizens cope with huge change in living standards that nobody was expecting.

“The second reason we have to take care with their future is because of their cost. They are costing many hundreds of millions of euros per week and what I and the Government will aim to do is change those payments in a way that is affordable but also makes sense for our citizens.”


Listen back in full here


Rise TD Paul Murphy

This afternoon.

Rise TD Paul Murphy asked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar if a newspaper report today – stating that the estimated monthly cost of the State’s leasing of private hospitals will be €115million – a month is accurate.

Mr Varadkar replied:

“That’s deputy, that’s an estimate. So it’s as accurate as any estimate can be. If that answers your question, it may be right, it may be wrong but it’s an accurate estimate. It’s not necessarily what the accurate cost will be because we won’t know that until the end ’cause the costs, they’ll have to be calculated.

“But the agreement that was made between the HSE and the Private Hospital Association was told that this would be done on the basis, on a not-for-profit basis, so it’s the covering of the costs of the hospitals.”


Independent TD Catherine Connolly

This afternoon.

Independent TD Catherine Connolly told Taoiseach Leo Varadkar:

I gave my support to draconian legislation where absolutely no attempt was made to contextualise such legislation within a human rights perspective or to frame, indeed, the operation of the powers given to Garda and undefined medical officers so that such powers would be time-limited and used in a proportionate and undiscriminatory way.

I was full aware of the implications of such legislation and I gave my support reluctantly, on the basis of a number of issues. One, we improve the legislation as best we could. Two, we made it time-based. Three, we insisted that it would come back before the Dáil.

“But the most important one on which I gave my consent was that we would have full and frank disclosure, full information on every issue from you and the Government. And I have to say, significantly, and unacceptably, that part of the bargain has not been kept.

“I look at testing. I look at the information on that, totally contradictory and I know, as we all do, of people waiting for tests. Four weeks on Saturday, in relation to the one that I’m mentioning.

“In relation to the operation of laboratories, whether they’re functioning or not functioning.

“On the first of April we were told that it was sufficient to meet the demand. Perhaps the first of April is an indication of how we should take that piece of information.

“In relation to nursing homes, I’m absolutely appalled that they weren’t number one on the list with a risk assessment carried out.

“On the 30th of January, the public health emergency was recognised. On the 11th of February, it was given a name: the coronavirus. On the 11th of March, a pandemic was declared by the World Health Organisation. And I haven’t heard one simple explanation from ye, as to why the nursing homes, direct provision centres and residential centres weren’t number one on the list, where our most vulnerable people live. 

“Why an assessment wasn’t carried out. I have looked through all of the briefing documents prior to coming in here, I have eight from the month of April. Of all those briefing documents, we’ve two lines on nursing homes, to tell us there would be screening introduced, never was it mentioned again.”


People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett

This afternoon.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett put to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar:

How do Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael believe that they are fitted to return to power or that we should believe their promises of a new political departure when, after the last financial crisis of 2008 they made the same promises and then proceeded to absolutely savage the staffing levels and capacity levels of our health service prior to this public health emergency.

“To the point where we have some of the lowest levels of ICU capacity, GP cover and staffing levels, hospital bed numbers in the whole of the Western world.

“Isn’t it the case, Taoiseach, that the privatisation and austerity policies that were pursued for the last ten years by these parties have contributed to the emergency that is now emerging, tragic emergency that’s emerging in our nursing homes because of a largely privatised, completely fragmented, under-resourced, under-supported nursing home sector.

“Isn’t it, Taoiseach, unacceptable but a legacy of the policies and priorities of those two parties. That 600 private consultants can hold this country over a barrel in the face of a public health emergency. It is absolutely shocking.

Can you please explain to me the incredible situation where this country has one of the biggest pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries in the world and yet we are suffering chronic shortages of Personal Protection Equipment, vital medical equipment and chemical reagents necessary to bring the level of testing up to that which we need to exit this crisis.

“And where [HSE CEO] Paul Reid cites proprietorial issues as an explanation for this. In layman’s terms, that means private patents and profit seeking by the companies that own these patents for chemical reagents.

“Can the Taoiseach explain why a private consultant, with no medical expertise whatsoever, was given the job of recruiting from the 70,000 heroic volunteers on the Call for Ireland, to recruit those people and integrate them into the health service.

“A job, from when I look at the numbers, doesn’t look to be going too well in that integration, CPL, CPL.

Can the minister explain the extraordinary appointment of a management consultant from an accountancy firm, Ernst & Young, to spearhead the ramping up of the testing and contact-tracing regime which we desperately need rather than public health experts, scientists and medics and that that same person has now been given the job to spearhead the transition back to, quote, ‘business as usual’.

“Rather than the public health experts, the scientists and the doctors, who should be deciding when we lift restrictions, how we lift restrictions, how we transition back to the normality that our citizens desperately want to return to…”


Labour leader Alan Kelly in the Dáil this afternoon

This afternoon, Labour leader Alan Kelly asked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar:

“Today, Taoiseach, we, in the Labour Party are proposing to you and to the rest of this House that we would pay all of our healthcare workers a one-off €1,000 solidarity gesture on May 1 [International Workers’ Day] in these unique circumstances when we know that all these workers are going way beyond anything they’ve ever done before or anything they’ll ever, ever do again.”


From top: Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in the Dáil this afternoon

At 2pm.

The Dáil, with reduced numbers, got under way with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Health Simon Harris, and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe scheduled to answer questions concerning the State’s response to Covid-19.

During his opening comments, Mr Varadkar said he doesn’t know if the current movement restrictions will be relaxed on May 5, saying they would need to be relaxed over several months.

He said:

“I don’t know yet if we’ll be able to relax restrictions on the 5th of May. But I do know that if we can, at all, it’s going to be gradual and will happen over a number of months. As we know from Asia, they may even need to be reimposed  again because only a scientific breakthrough, a vaccine or an effective anti-viral medicine will truly allow life to got back to being as it was.

“Other breakthroughs, like a reliable anti-body test, could really help though. And I am optimistic about the capacity of the brilliant minds in our international pharmaceutical companies and universities to deliver.”

During his initial contribution, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told the Dáil:

“Unfortunately, I have to report to the House that I know of at least one case where relatives of a person in a nursing home has been informed that the nursing home has been told by the Department that it should not give out information about the number of cases in the home.”

The proceedings can be watched above or here.

The last time the Dáil sat, on April 3, Fine Gael TD and Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan refused to answer a single question that TDs raised about health matters concerning Covid-19, after castigating the TDs who called for the Dáil to sit.

Among the contributions from TDs was that of Fianna Fáil Stephen Donnelly who told the Dáil that he was told that out of 200 members of staff at one nursing home, 70 had tested positive for Covid-19 and that 19 of the home’s 100 residents had also tested positive.

Ms Madigan told the Dáil:

“I thank the deputies for their contributions. However, the members here today who have insisted on this Dáil sitting have shown a complete disregard for our national fight to contain Covid-19. Shame on you.”

More to follow.

Earlier: ‘A Growing Sense Of Public Unease’

Previously: A Refusal To Hold Themselves Accountable [Updated]

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe

This morning.

The Irish Times reports:

Euro zone finance ministers reached a compromise on Thursday to break days of stalemate over how to respond to an economic downturn that threatens to be the worst since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Under the deal, which amounts to €500 billion in a range of tools, states can borrow from the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund to finance spending needed to overcome the crisis.

…But it dashed the hopes of Italy, Ireland, Spain and six other member states that had called for eurobonds to bring down borrowing costs and send a signal of unity as the continent confronts a health crisis that threatens to become an economic disaster.

Meanwhile, RTÉ reports:

He said it is very possible that Ireland will need to access funds from the European Investment Bank to help fund companies and will consider whether to access the programme to help fund wage subsidy schemes.

It is hoped that it will not need to use the fund from the European Stability Mechanism, he [Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe] added.

He said a new Government in Ireland must have a stable majority but must reflect the hopes and fears of the electorate when they voted.

Euro finance ministers agree €500bn package to address pandemic fallout (Naomi Leary, The Irish Times)

Ireland may need limited access to new EU Covid-19 rescue package, minister says (RTÉ)

Director of Creative Ireland Tania Banotti, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan in Government Buildings today

This afternoon.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan attended a press conference to announce a range of artistic initiatives.

During the briefing, Harry McGee, of The Irish Times, asked Mr Donohoe about a nursing home which has seen a considerable number of positive Covid-9 cases. Mr McGee also asked the minister about the number of people who have recovered from the virus.

Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly raised concerns about the home with Ms Madigan in the Dáil yesterday, telling her that that 70 out of 200 members of staff at one nursing home had tested positive for Covid-19 and that 19 of the home’s 100 residents had also tested positive.

However, Ms Madigan did not respond to Mr Donnelly’s concerns as the Minister for Health Simon Harris was not present. Instead she took notes and said Mr Harris would respond accordingly.

From this morning’s briefing.

Harry McGee: “To Minister Donohoe, in relation to some of the detail that has been given out in relation to the Covid-19 crisis, the nursing home issue, in particular, there’s quite a lot of clusters. And there’s been a bit of a lack of clarity in relation to the information being given.

“Stephen Donnelly, from Fianna Fáil yesterday, was talking about a cluster of 79 at least in one nursing home. We know there’s quite a lot of nursing homes affected but there’s been very little information in relation to the detail about that.

“And also there’s a great sparsity in relation to the detail about those who’ve recovered from Covid-19 in Ireland, compared to other countries and perhaps you could address those issues if you would?”

Paschal Donohoe: [after giving a response to nursing homes in general] “In relation to the question that you put to me about a particular nursing home, that Deputy Donnelly raised yesterday, I’m afraid I don’t have information in relation to that nursing home. Maybe that’s something that our colleagues in NPHET [National Public Health Emergency Team] can deal with across today on one of the press briefings that might take place later on today.

“In relation to your second question about data in relation to citizens who thankfully have recovered from Covid-19. Again, from being involved in discussion on that issue across yesterday, I think an important consideration from our public health officials is to have a wide enough data set, of enough citizens who have recovered from Covid-19 to allow them then to issue conclusions in relation to it.

“And the sense I got yesterday from a discussion on this issue is that we are looking to have a wide enough cohort of citizens who have recovered from Covid-19, who have exited, for example, our ICU facilities. To have that cohort wide enough to then allow us to draw conclusions from it.

“An my understanding, Harry, is that we’re a little bit off, being able to form conclusions that we think are reliable enough to be able to talk to you, and therefore the country, about.”

Watch back in full here.


From top: Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, Fine Gael TD Josepha Madigan; Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly; tweet from Socialist TD Mick Barry

Yesterday afternoon.

Minister for Finance and Fine Gael TD Paschal Donohoe only answered pre-submitted questions from journalists at a press briefing in Government Buildings.

The journalists weren’t allowed to ask follow-up questions.

Also yesterday afternoon, in the Dáil, Fine Gael TD and Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan refused to answer a single question that TDs raised about health matters concerning Covid-19, after castigating the TDs who called for the Dáil to sit with reduced numbers.

Among the contributions from TDs was that of Fianna Fáil Stephen Donnelly who told the Dáil that he was told that out of 200 members of staff at one nursing home, 70 had tested positive for Covid-19 and that 19 of the home’s 100 residents had also tested positive.

After the TDs raised their concerns, acting chairman John Lahart told the Dáil: “The Minister for Health departed the chamber to attend a briefing of all party and group leaders on Covid-19. The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will conclude the debate for the Government.”

However, instead of answering any of the questions, Ms Madigan told those present that she had taken notes and that Mr Harris would get back to them.

Of the press briefing with Mr Donohoe, Miriam Lord, in The Irish Times, reports:

“Having asked them [journalists] to attend (a small number, in accordance with the necessary restrictions), they were then asked to pre-submit their questions. These were read out by Paschal Donohoe’s press aide, who then replied as the mute hacks looked on.

“Disgracefully, they were not allowed to ask follow-up questions, so Paschal could effectively say what he liked without being challenged. Microphones were not provided because of hygiene issues. The reporters could have been heard without them, but they weren’t given the chance. This doesn’t even happen in the White House. But it happens here, in Government Buildings. And Hungary.

“A trivial thing to worry about in the current, terrible scheme of things. Or is it?”

Meanwhile, in the Dáil, the Heath Minister Simon Harris addressed those present after which Ms Madigan listened to questions from other TDs.

Apart from Mr Donnelly’s questions, other contributions included concerns about coronavirus test numbers, GP concerns, social welfare payments for people over the age of 66, concerns about people in direct provision, personal protective equipment, student nurses, people in receipt of medicinal cannabis, domestic violence issues and mental health services.

After hearing the contributions, this is what the Dáil heard:

Joespha Madigan: “I thank the deputies for their contributions. However, the members here today who have insisted on this Dáil sitting have shown a complete disregard for our national fight to contain Covid-19. Shame on you.

They have forced us to stray from home rather than stay at home, which is completely contrary to public health guidelines and nothing to do with any public representative shirking his or her responsibilities.

“As the Minister, Deputy Harris, said, there is no reason we could not have done this remotely. We have already seen the European Parliament achieve that. As he said, with a little ingenuity, it could be achieved. I just wanted to say that at the outset.

“We are learning more about Covid-19 but there is much we do not know. In particular, we do not know how long this public health emergency is going to last. As the Minister for Health, Deputy Simon Harris, said earlier, many lives have already been cruelly taken by this virus. I would like to express my condolences to all of those who have been bereaved.”


Ms Madigan had this exchange with Mr Donnelly:

Stephen Donnelly: “My understanding was that the wrap-up would include answers to questions raised by the House. In the time left, will the Minister actually address any of the questions we have come here to ask?”

Madigan: “I think the Chairman made very clear that the Minister for Health, Deputy Simon Harris, is with the Taoiseach at present…”

Donnelly: “Deputy Madigan has been here.”

Madigan: “…and with all the leaders of Opposition parties and groups. He has been giving them a briefing on Covid-19 since about 3.30pm.”

Donnelly: “Is Deputy Madigan going to answer anything that has been raised?”

John Lahart: “One speaker, please.”

Madigan: “As Deputy Donnelly knows, the Minister, Deputy Harris, was here. He was here when Deputy Donnelly spoke and he was here for every other speaker except for a few. I have taken notes of those concerns for him. He has taken detailed notes of all the Members’ concerns and I am satisfied that he will get back to them with comprehensive responses on everything.”

Donnelly: “Is Deputy Madigan going to address them?”

Madigan: “It is a bit opportunistic, when the Minister is in a very important meeting…”

Donnelly: “I am not having a go at the Minister for Health. I am asking if a Government Minister is going to answer any of the questions raised by the Parliament.”

Madigan: “He will come back with answers to all the Members’ concerns.”

Donnelly: “Is Deputy Madigan going to answer any of them?”

Madigan: “I can only go that far. With respect, I am not the Minister for Health and he cannot bilocate. Deputy Donnelly can appreciate that.

Donnelly: “Deputy Madigan is not answering anything that has been raised.”

Ms Madigan then went on to acknowledge “the incredible response” of the frontline staff across departments and agencies, in the health sector and in social welfare and other sectors.

Read the debate in full here or watch in back in full here

Yesterday: Coronafurious



From top Taoiseach Leo Varadkar leaving Marconi House after an interview with Newstalk’s Pat Kenny this morning. Michael Noonan with Paschal Donohoe in 2017

This morning.

Via Newstalk:

Mr Varadkar said he doesn’t feel undermined by Michael Noonan backing Paschal Donohoe to be the Fine Gael leader.

Mr Noonan – who is not running for re-election – told Independent.ie’s Floating Voter podcast that it’s an open secret he wanted Donohoe to replace Enda Kenny.

The intervention comes with Leo Varadkar under pressure as polls ahead of the election show support for the party falling.

The Taoiseach, however, denied that he felt undermined by the intervention – saying Mr Noonan also said on the podcast that Mr Varadkar has been a ‘great Taoiseach’.

The Fine Gael leader said: “I can see how people will try to make a bigger story out of it than it is.

No finer endorsement.

Varadkar: Time Has Come For Sinn Féin Tp Openly Support The Special Criminal Court (Newstalk)

Noonan backs Donohoe to be Fine Gael leader as pressure mounts on Varadkar (Independent.ie)




This afternoon.


For a party headquarters to effectively tell the media, as they have in this case, that they consider one of their own candidates too incompetent to face a media interview is, and there’s no other word for it, astonishing.

It’s not surprising that they would have conducted a preparatory mock interview with her, nor that they would have decided that in the circumstances, putting her on air was not a good decision.

But in this case, somebody has actively decided to inform a reporter that they’re hiding their own candidate from the press because they do not trust her. That’s a level of viciousness that’s extraordinary, especially given that it is towards one of their own.

And it’s not the first time, either. Or the second. In recent years Fine Gael has displayed more brutality and vindictiveness towards its own members than it ever has towards its political opponents.

…If you come across a young person who’s thinking of joining Fine Gael, give them one piece of advice: Don’t ever make a mistake. Because Fine Gael won’t just try to ruin your life – they’ll actively seem to enjoy doing it.

Fine Gael tears one of its own to pieces. Again. (John McGuirk, Gript)

Earlier: Noone Gets Out Of Here Alive