News World Martin named new Irish prime minister, vows to tackle deep recession

Martin named new Irish prime minister, vows to tackle deep recession

Ireland‘s parliament picked veteran opposition leader Micheál Martin as prime minister on Saturday to head the first coalition uniting the two parties that have battled each other for power since a civil war nearly a century ago.

He pledged to rescue Ireland from the “the fastest-moving recession ever to hit”, brought on by the coronavirus crisis.

Martin’s Fianna Fail party was forced to join forces with its foes Fine Gael, after a surprise election surge for leftist Irish nationalists Sinn Fein left neither of the traditional centrist parties with enough support to govern on its own. They and are joined in coalition by the environmentalist Greens.

Martin is expected to step aside half way through the five-year term to allow Fine Gael’s leader, outgoing Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, to return to the post.

“There is no question what our most urgent work is. There is no community, no part of our country which has escaped untouched” by coronavirus, Martin told a special sitting of lawmakers, held in Dublin’s Convention Centre as the houses of parliament are too small for social distancing.

To overcome the recession “we must act with urgency and ambition”, said Martin, close to tears as he thanked his family who were unable to travel from his native Cork due to coronavirus restrictions due to be eased on Monday.

He was elected by 93 votes to 63 after also securing support from some independent members of parliament.

The appointment represented a turnaround for Fianna Fail and Martin, who was a member of the government that signed up to an EU/IMF bailout a decade ago and led to an unprecedented 2011 electoral collapse just after he took over as leader.

STIMULUS PACKAGE

The 59-year-old former history teacher, who has held several senior ministries including health, trade, foreign affairs and education, faces another economic crisis with 26% of the country either temporarily or permanently unemployed.

The jobless rate was just 4.8% when the election was fought in very different circumstances in February. The main issue then was over how to allot the spoils of what was Europe’s fastest growing economy.

Instead Martin will oversee a stimulus package next month for the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus lockdown.

Pashcal Donohoe, a candidate to head the Eurogroup of 19 euro zone finance ministers, was reappointed finance minister, as was his Fine Gael colleague, Foreign Minister Simon Coveney. Deputy Prime Minister Varadkar was named trade minister.

The new coalition will also split Irish politics along more explicitly ideological lines than in the past, with Sinn Fein taking over as the main opposition. Though Fianna Fail and Fine Gael emerged from opposite sides in civil war in the 1920s, they have mainly pushed similar centrist agendas for decades.

Sinn Fein, the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army that fought an insurgency against British rule of Northern Ireland, shocked the political establishment in February by securing the most votes with a call for more generous social programmes. It has 37 seats in the 160-seat parliament, the same number as Fianna Fail and two more than Fine Gael.

“You will no longer get it all your own way,” Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald told the two parties.

(Reuters)

Pictured: Taoiseach Micheal Martin, leader of the Fianna Fail party leaves the Convention Centre, en route to the president’s residence to receive his seal of office in Dublin, Ireland June 27, 2020. REUTERS/Lorraine O’Sullivan

Top Stories

Health Minister’s advisor on controlled exit from lockdown

The lifting of the restrictive measures and the exit from the current lockdown have to be dynamic and it is up to each and...

President Biden warns COVID to get worse before it gets better

Fewer than half of the nearly 38 million vaccine doses shipped to date by the federal government have actually made it into the arms...

Access to Troodos controlled by Police

The Police announced that on the basis of the Health Ministry decrees aiming to contain the outbreak of the pandemic, tomorrow Sunday, access to...

129 new cases, four deaths announced on Saturday

The Health Ministry announced the death of four persons due to COVID-19. This raises the death toll from the virus in Cyprus to 183,...

Crowding at Troodos; lots of fines by police

Lots of traffic was today seen at Troodos. In order to maintain order but also to monitor that people respected the measures aiming to...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...