Fears Donohoe would be ‘undermined’ led to wage subsidy U-turn

Department worried that sustained campaign over ‘proprietary directors’ would be bad publicity for minister in run-up to budget

The Minister for Finance 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 EWSS

Paschal Donohoe, the Minister for Finance, 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 that backing down on changes to the employment wage subsidy scheme (EWSS) would be a “bad signal”, but that the Department of Finance would eventually be forced to “give in”.