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What to expect from key cabinet players in martin's first 100 days

 

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin

Taoiseach Micheal Martin

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Stephen Donnelly

Stephen Donnelly

Heather Humphreys

Heather Humphreys

Paschal Donohoe

Paschal Donohoe

Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar

Eamon Ryan

Eamon Ryan

Norma Foley

Norma Foley

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin

Taoiseach Micheal Martin has warned ministers in the new Fianna Fail/Fine Gael/Green Party coalition that there's "no time for quietly settling in".

Here's what's on the agenda for some key Cabinet members in the first 100 days of the new Government:

Taoiseach Micheal Martin

When he announced his Cabinet team, Mr Martin warned that they must be committed to working together with both "urgency and ambition".

His job will be to make sure his diverse Cabinet from three parties delivers on Programme for Government (PfG) promises.

Mr Martin will have to be seen to drive the recovery from the pandemic, while not forgetting the pre-existing crises in health, housing and a possible no trade deal Brexit.

It will require all of his political talents to ensure a strong start to tackling the issues facing the country in the first 100 days of government.

Tanaiste and Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister Leo Varadkar

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Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar

 

Mr Varadkar's immediate task is to deliver the July jobs initiative. It is to be targeted at the sectors of the economy that have been worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, including tourism, hospitality, retail, entertainment and the arts.

Under PfG plans he will be charged with bringing together businesses and State bodies to coordinate efforts to help small and medium enterprises.

Legislation needs to be enacted for a €2bn credit guarantee scheme and there is to be a review of grants available to businesses. Mr Varadkar said the Government "must hit the ground running".

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe

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Paschal Donohoe

Paschal Donohoe

Paschal Donohoe

 

The future of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) are to be set out as part of the July jobs initiative.

Mr Donohoe will be working with Fianna Fail's Department of Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath and others on this. He will also have to take a longer view. Budget 2021 is due to be delivered in around 100 days from now. Mr Donohoe will have to work out how to deal with the massive increase in State spending - and borrowing - due to coronavirus.

Fiendishly difficult decisions and a busy three months lie ahead.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly

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Stephen Donnelly

Stephen Donnelly

Stephen Donnelly

The Department of Health was not short of problems before Covid-19. Aside from testing and treating coronavirus patients, there is a pressing need to ramp-up non-Covid care in the health service.

"Covid has created a perfect storm and we have to react to it quickly," Mr Donnelly has said.

He told RTE that, in the short-term, extra capacity must be sought outside the public system so that hospital services can return. This is due to the need to retain spare capacity in case of a second wave of the virus. He said Slaintecare plans must be accelerated at the same time.

Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands Minister Heather Humphreys

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Heather Humphreys

Heather Humphreys

Heather Humphreys

Ms Humphreys will have to grapple with the thorny issue of the future of the €350-a-week PUP in a lot less than 100 days. It is currently only due to continue until August 10.

The Government is hoping that many of the more than 460,000 people that got the PUP last week will be back in work by then, given that most businesses are now allowed to reopen. However, it is by no means certain that they will be with the hospitality industry on its knees.

Education Minister Norma Foley

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Norma Foley

Norma Foley

Norma Foley

 

Fianna Fail's Norma Foley, a school teacher and first-time TD, was the big surprise among Mr Martin's announcements on Saturday. She has perhaps one of the greatest challenges in Government - how to get hundreds of thousands of school children back to their classrooms in just two months. The last government's goal was a full return by the end of August.

With responsibility for higher education hived off elsewhere, expect Ms Foley's every waking hour to be spent on this task.

Climate Action, Transport and Communications Minister Eamon Ryan

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Eamon Ryan

Eamon Ryan

Eamon Ryan

 

The PfG includes a commitment to set down in law how Ireland will reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 within the coalition's first 100 days in office.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 7pc a year was the big Green demand and the party leader will have to deliver on it.

Mr Ryan will also have to urgently deal with the easing of travel restrictions.

The Green leader has indicated a cautious approach, saying "I don't think we should be turning on the taps" for travel.