The governing parties must work closer as partners than any other previous coalition has done to successfully tackle the unprecedented challenges the country faces over the next five years, Clare TD Joe Carey said this evening.

Deputy Carey was speaking after it was confirmed that Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Green Party members have voted in favour of the new Programme for Government.

The local Fine Gael TD said the new coalition faces huge challenges as it battles to rebuild our economy in the wake of the devastating pandemic.

Deputy Carey said: “This is a defining moment in the history of our country and how we respond now will reverberate for generations to come.

“I welcome the decision of the majority of our own members and those of our new partners in Fianna Fáil and the Green Party who voted in favour of the new Programme for Government: now it’s time to get on with delivering the transformative change that is needed to rebuild our economy and society after Covid-19 brought the country to a virtual standstill.

“A close partnership between the parties is needed like never before to steer the country back to prosperity. This is a unique coalition, and the first time we will have a rotating Taoiseach, and it’s up to us work together and lead from the front as we face the difficult challenges that lie ahead together.”

Deputy Carey, who recently convened the all-party Shannon Airport Oireachtas Group, said supporting the airport through this turbulent period will be a major priority for him in the months and years ahead.

The Clarecastle-based TD, who formerly chaired the Oireachtas Committee on Community and Rural Affairs, said he will also continue to fight for more balanced regional development to ensure greater job opportunities for the people of Clare.

Deputy Carey added: “We know the pandemic has decimated whole industries, including the airline and hospitality sectors, upon which so much local employment relies on. I will do everything in my power, with the support of my fellow TD and Sentors in the Mid-West, to help and support Shannon Airport as it resumes services over the coming weeks and months.

“The pandemic has also shown us that the whole area of remote working, and indeed remote living, can provide real employment opportunities for counties such as Clare – and a much better standard of living for people. It is up to us, as the governing parties, to provide the type of incentives and infrastructure that enable us to provide greater employment opportunities that are more family friendly and kinder to the environment.”

Deputy Carey also said the new Programme for Government strongly reflects the commitments he and the party made to voters in the countdown to the General Election.

He confirmed a total of 73%, or 584 out of 804 Fine Gael Manifesto Commitments, are contained in the draft Programme for Government.

Deputy Carey added: “This is certainly a very green Programme for Government, reflecting the serious climate challenges we have to address. But it’s also an extremely strong reflection of the promises and commitments we made to voters prior to the election.”