The Punt: TDs don't want boom and gloom
John McHale and his colleagues on the Fiscal Advisory Council came under a bit of pressure at the Oireachtas Finance Committee yesterday for being a little too pessimistic.
The Council has expressed serious concern at the decision by the Government to increase spending for this year by €1.5bn, claiming it had "echoes" of past mistakes.
McHale's argument is that the over performance in the tax take is made up primarily from a surge in corporation tax receipts, the cause of which is not really known yet.
Not surprisingly, Government TDs took umbrage with the concerns. Veteran Labour deputy Pat Rabbitte pushed McHale on whether he thought it was fair to make such an assertion, claiming it would take a disaster to cause the multinational sector to retreat to such a degree as to cause the level of problems seen during the crash.
Fine Gael's Liam Twomey also weighed in, later making the point that the increase in spending was targeted and focused on investment.
McHale and colleagues are doing precisely what they're supposed to be doing. They're raising concerns, allowing for debate, and highlighting possible problems that could end up causing the State problems. Questioning them for doing so also carries echoes of past mistakes.
Irish horses will be on cloud nine
The Punt is well used to being frugal and sitting at the back of the plane, whether it be for business trips or family holidays. We call it economy class - the Americans like to dub it "cattle" class. Whatever about cattle, the horses of Ireland are having a high old time in the skies. A group of thoroughbreds are off to the UAE for some much-needed winter sun, and it's first-class travel all the way to Dubai.
The pampered ponies have their own passports (why the long face??) and special stalls, with food, drink and their own butler (sorry, trainer) with them for the journey. That's not all - they even have their own business-style lounge on arrival in the UAE, where they'll be groomed and pampered.
How does The Punt know this? All was revealed about the Irish and Emirati mutual interest in our equine friends by Enda Corneille, country manager of Emirates here, as the Dubai-headquarted airline celebrated its millionth (human) passenger on its Irish route.
Straight from the horse's mouth then, so to speak.