Michael McGrath: Ó Broin's withdrawal of claim about civil servant is welcome

Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath has welcomed the withdrawal of a claim by Sinn Féin’s Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin about a senior civil servant in the Department of Finance.
Michael McGrath: Ó Broin's withdrawal of claim about civil servant is welcome

Vivienne Clarke

Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath has welcomed the withdrawal of a claim by Sinn Féin’s Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin about a senior civil servant in the Department of Finance.

It was important that civil servants be reassured and feel protected, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

If Sinn Féin were to enter government, Eoin Ó Broin would be a Minister and civil servants would want to know that they would be safe from recriminations under a Sinn Féin government, he said.

Civil servants had to feel that they could give advice freely without fear of retribution. For the 100 years of the State civil servants had been offering independent advice to politicians who do not always like the advice, but they take on board and sometimes go in a different direction, explained Mr McGrath.

The comments come after  Mr Ó Broin said that the government's chief economist, John McCarthy, should be sacked. Speaking at a music festival in Co Roscommon, he suggested that Department of Finance civil servant should not be advising the government on housing. He later withdrew his comments.

The Minister also expressed disappointment at the departure of Sligo-Leitrim TD Marc MacSharry from the Fianna Fáil party. “It is always a great disappointment when you lose a colleague from the party”.

Mr MacSharry had made his own decision to leave, he said, the party was committed to dealing with an issue that could have been resolved in a relatively straightforward manner. The party had been anxious to resolve the matter, but there were established procedures.

“We have to stand behind the procedures”.

Mr McGrath also spoke about the high tax returns for 2022, he said that the Government would avoid making expenditure decisions for funds that could be temporary. It was important to put away some of this year’s windfall taxes into the national reserves and to spend wisely.

When asked about recent European Central Bank interest rises, Mr McGrath said the ECB was independent and made its own decisions separate from national governments. The current European inflation rate of 10 percent was not sustainable especially during a period of great uncertainty.

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