Department of Finance believed organised campaign on pandemic wage subsidy scheme would “undermine” them in run-up to Budget

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe was forced into a u-turn over rules on a pandemic wage subsidy scheme after being warned an orchestrated campaign was likely to “undermine” him in the run-up to the budget.

One of the country’s most senior civil servants admitted backing down on changes to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme would be a “bad signal” but that the department would eventually be forced to “give in”.

The Department of Finance was particularly worried it would end up the subject of publicity that would “undermine him [Minister Donohoe] in the run into the Budget”.

The minister had been the subject of a campaign from TDs and business interests over the exclusion of so-called ‘proprietary directors’ from the terms of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS).

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