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‘Jury is out’ for some voters on Fine Gael

Fine Gael leader Simon Harris has said there is a cohort of voters for whom “the jury is out” on his party and they want to see what he does as leader.

At the opening of his party’s Ard Fheis in Co Galway, Mr Harris said there are a number of areas where “the important thing for Fine Gael to turn things around is that sense of self belief and energy”.

“This is a party that is fighting fit,” he said.

Mr Harris, who is expected to be elected as Taoiseach in the Dáil on Tuesday, said: “People in the farming community want to see that Fine Gael has their back, there are small businesses who want to see that Fine Gael are on their side, and I think a number of families want to better understand what we are going to do about childcare and the cost of living.”

Ahead of an anticipated Cabinet reshuffle, he said that he recognises that this is a time of “tension” and that some people will be people who will be delighted next week and there will be people who feel a sense of personal disappointment.

Mr Harris said there are no plans for a second Finance Bill

Mr Harris also said he wants the future funding model for RTÉ settled before the summer recess.

He said he has an “open mind”.

Mr Harris said he understands there are concerns about an exchequer funding model, but that he would not like to see a situation where the TV license is increased.

“I do believe a better collection model is possible,” he said.

There are no plans for a second Finance Bill or a mini-budget, Mr Harris said.

The Fine Gael leader said the successful management of the public finances means the Government can respond to situations as they arise and there are real pressures currently on small businesses.

Pearse Doherty said there would be ‘nothing new’ from Mr Harris as Taoiseach (File image)

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has accused independent TDs of “rescuing” Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.

Mr Doherty predicted that there would be “nothing new” from Mr Harris as Taoiseach and reiterated Sinn Féin’s call for a General Election.

The party will not nominate Mary Lou McDonald as Taoiseach on Tuesday, insisting that a General Election was required instead.

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