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I hope 2020 will see the worst of it: Paschal Donohoe on Budget 2021

The Finance Minister says investment in business and healthcare will help Ireland turn the corner.

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Finance minister Paschal Donohoe (right) and public expenditure minister Michael McGrath (Julien Behal/PA)

Finance minister Paschal Donohoe (right) and public expenditure minister Michael McGrath (Julien Behal/PA)

Finance minister Paschal Donohoe (right) and public expenditure minister Michael McGrath (Julien Behal/PA)

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said he “hopes” 2020 will see the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking after delivering budget 2021, Mr Donohoe said the measures would help get the economy and the country back on track next year.

But he said the Government has set aside additional funds should the threat of the virus not subside in 2021.

He told the PA news agency: “I hope 2020 will see the worst of it and I hope as we move into 2021 we will get our country and our economy into a better place.

“In order to do that, what we have to do is make the right choices with our public health, continue to do all we can to beat this virus.

“But one of the reasons why we’ve put in place additional funds for next year is to give us the flexibility to respond back in case 2021 turns out to be different from what we all want and what we would all hope for.”

He also defended the proposed increase of 66 intensive care beds, which was criticised as too low by the Opposition, with ICU capacity cited as key defence in preventing future lockdowns.

He said: “Our ICU capacity was actually protected during the darkest days of the Covid-19 pandemic earlier this year.

“Even when our health system did come under such strain, we did have the bed capacity to protect and support those who were so sick at a time of great strain.

“So the measures that have been announced today in relation to additional ICU beds I believe will make a difference to the ability of our hospitals to respond back if we are still dealing with the consequence of this disease next year.”

He said the most important part of the budget is “trying to put together the plans and resources so that collectively we can all get through 2020”.

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