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Welcoming the extension of the confidence and supply arrangement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil Cork East Fine Gael TD and Minister of State at the Department of Justice & Equality, David Stanton, said this agreement was crucial with Brexit looming. This extension means that the current Government will now continue until 2020.

“Brexit is on the horizon and this is not the time for Ireland to experience the political instability that we have seen in the UK. I am very glad that the Government’s extension has been agreed by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, after extensive negotiations between both parties.

“In addition to providing political stability for the next year, the commitment to continue the confidence and supply arrangement further strengthens Ireland’s hand in negotiating a successful outcome to Brexit. This united approach will also secure all we have achieved to date.”

Minister Stanton continued: “We have developed an ambitious programme of work as part of the confidence and supply agreement. This focuses on Brexit, job creation, investment in infrastructure including health and housing, and meeting the needs of hard-working Irish families. We are determined to ensure the social and economic progress made since 2016 can continue.

“When this Government was formed in May 2016 many commentators said that the 32nd Dáil would not last and that little would be achieved. Now we have passed three budgets and got our public finances well under control allowing us to plan for future tax reforms.

“Project Ireland 2040, our long-term plan for Ireland’s future development, is underway which includes a €116 billion National Development Plan.

“We have achieved the highest level of employment ever with 91,000 or more than 60% of new jobs since 2016 having been created outside the Dublin area. Our unemployment rate currently stands at 5.3% which is the lowest level since 2008.

“We can and will achieve more. Healthcare reform through the cross party Sláintecare plan will be delivered. We are investing in infrastructure including housing, roads and public transport and we will further expand the affordable childcare scheme and introduce paid parental leave in the first year of a child’s life.” concluded Minister Stanton.