MICHAEL McGrath, the public expenditure and reform minister, topped the poll in 2016, ahead of his own party leader, Micheál Martin, and retained his seat in 2020, but without reaching the quota.
Speaking to The Echo, Mr McGrath said the Government would “guide the country through the remainder of the pandemic”.
“Rarely has so much water passed under the bridge in a 12-month period,” Mr McGrath said. “The formation of the Government took a long time, for various reasons, including, of course, the impact of the pandemic.
“Being appointed to Cabinet, by the Taoiseach, on June 27 last year, is certainly a great personal milestone and I am deeply honoured to be serving in government.”
However, Mr McGrath has described the last year as “incredibly hectic, since coming into office”. “We have had to make huge interventions in the economy to try to keep businesses afloat and to provide basic incomes to households,” Mr McGrath said. “As the minister responsible for public spending, I have been directly involved in all these decisions.”
Mr McGrath said that while he has learned a lot in the last seven months, Covid-19 has dominated the political agenda. “I think the priority has been to support our fantastic frontline staff and to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the economy in the best way we can. We will, in a very sensitive and appropriate way, commemorate all those who sadly lost their life due to Covid,” he said.