I would like to welcome you this afternoon to the publication of the Government’s economic stimulus package.
Um thrathnóna, chomhaontaigh an Riatas plean fadréimseach agus uaillmhianach a fhoilsiú. Léiríonn seo iarracht mhór chun postanna a chosaint agus a chothú agus cuidiú le daoine filleadh ar obair.
Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil leis na hAirí Pascal Donoghue agus Michael McGrath Pascal Donohoe as ucht an méid oibre a chuir said isteach sa phlean seo.
Ghlac gach roinn rialtas páirt sa togra seo agus tá deis faoi leith ann anois go mbainfidh gach pobal sa tír leas as na gníomhaíochtaí sonraithe atá aontaithe againn.
San áireamh ann tá meascán de thacaíochtaí díreacha, faoiseamh cánacha agus infheistíocht phoiblí – ag léiriú ár diongbháilteacht chun téarnamh uileghabhálach agus ionchuimsitheach a fhorbairt.
This is an unprecedented set of measures required by unprecedented times.
Over the past five months 2,310 people on this island have lost their lives during the pandemic. We know that for their loved ones the impact of this terrible virus will always be with them.
Our first priority remains the health of the Irish people and particularly groups which are highly vulnerable to its worst impacts.
No one should be in any doubt about the fact that we are not returning to pre-March normality.
Significant limits on public activities remain and each of us retains the duty to do whatever we can to limit the spread of the virus. Clear guidance on this is available in all media and from public bodies.
The economic recession which the pandemic has caused is the most rapid and dramatic ever recorded.
Emergency measures introduced in March with all party support have prevented a much deeper social and economic crisis.
However, we now need to move to a new agenda – one which continues to try to limit the damage of the pandemic but which also moves to help build a sustainable and inclusive recovery.
When our three parties agreed to form a new government, we agreed that an immediate priority would be the implementation of a plan to protect jobs, create new ones and help people back to work.
The first decision we took as a government was to begin the preparation of this package of measures. Over the past three weeks this has been at the centre of all of our work.
Every Minister and every Department has contributed to the process.
This has included widespread consultation as we have sought to understand the impact of the crisis on different sectors and our options for taking immediate action.
I want to acknowledge the genuine all of government effort which underpins this announcement.
The fact is that internationally no one fully understands the economic impact of the pandemic, however we know enough to move forward with a comprehensive range of measures to begin delivering the recovery.
We understand that thousands of businesses are struggling to keep going.
We can see the impact on individual workers and their families from the fear that their jobs may never return.
Most of all we know that we as a nation have to work together to develop the hope and confidence on which we can build a recovery.
I believe that this week marks a decisive and positive moment for Ireland.
The agreement which I reached with colleagues at the European summit held between Friday and Tuesday morning is an essential foundation for our recovery.
Ireland is an open, trading economy. For us to succeed we need the European economy as a whole to be strong.
The unprecedented stimulus package we have agreed brings direct benefits for Ireland which will be set out more clearly in the coming months. However, far more important for us is that Europe has taken a decisive move to restore confidence and invest in recovery.
The crisis has required a major increase in our public borrowing. It is our assessment that this is proportionate and necessary for a range of economic and budgetary reasons.
The increased borrowing which we are announcing today is in line with what is happening in Europe and internationally. A combination of lower financing costs, the major EU reforms implemented over the last decade and the shared nature of the stimulus spending means that this extra borrowing is sustainable.
The package we are announcing today includes over 50 individual measures which collectively address every significant area of economic activity in our country.
We are determined to protect as many businesses and jobs as possible and to help create new opportunities. A wide range of measures will be implemented to achieve this.
We are not using a one-size-fits-all approach, our actions will help businesses from the smallest up to the biggest employers through a mix of both general and targeted actions.
Direct subsidies to prevent permanent lay-offs will be placed on a new and ongoing footing.
The waiver of commercial rates will be expanded and extended.
Businesses will be helped with direct grants to assist them in reopening and to adapt to the realities of the post-Covid economy.
The critical issue of tight cash-flows which is threatening many businesses will be addressed through measures such as changes to the payment of key taxes and the provision of low-cost financing.
Sector-specific supports will be provided.
In addition to these supports for businesses we have to act to help individuals who are out of work on a temporary or permanent basis.
We are putting in place longer-term income supports to help them when their job is lost either temporarily or permanently.
We must move on to help people to qualify for and find new jobs. We are absolutely determined that the recovery to this crisis will not leave people and communities behind. That’s why a major element of this package is to fund new education and training initiatives.
On top of directly helping businesses and individuals we believe that there is a need to take other action to stimulate the economy.
A wide range of other measures will be implemented to fast-track important economic, social, cultural and environmental projects. These will both create jobs and help us to achieve other important objectives.
Capital funding will be provided to every school to help with both ongoing and new refurbishment projects.
Support will be provided for new town and village renewal schemes.
The national retrofitting programme, peatland restoration and improved public transport are part of a series of actions which will both create jobs and help in addressing urgent environmental goals.
In the coming months we will continue to respond as the impacts of the pandemic and recession become clearer.
Socially and economically essential moves such as reopening schools as comprehensively as possible will have additional costs and these will be addressed separate to this announcement.
At the same time, work on the new economic plan which will set out our shared vision for Ireland’s future will proceed at pace, ready for publication later this year with implementation to begin soon afterwards.
The extensive package of measures we are announcing today represents an ambitious and comprehensive response to an unprecedented crisis.
Every family, community and business in our country has felt its impact.
We are not at a stage where we can return to normal, but we are at a stage where we can plan our route forward.
The greatest strength of our country has always been the skills of our people built up over many decades.
In the face of this new and unprecedented situation our determination is to work in partnership with the Irish people to protect as many jobs as possible, to support the creation of new jobs and to help people with the supports and training they need.
Implementation of the package starts immediately.
Departments are already working on rolling-out the measures and where legislation is required it will be drafted, published and enacted in the coming weeks.
This stimulus package sets a clear and urgent agenda. It shows the way forward for a recovery which benefits all parts of our country.