Boyle won't back down on budget warnings
GREEN Party chairman Dan Boyle was unrepentant last night about his warning that Ireland might not be able to reduce its budget deficit within the next four years.
He put himself at odds with government policy, which is to to bring down the deficit in line with EU rules by 2014.
Mr Boyle had asked whether this was socially and politically possible.
"Seeing that we have had three-and-a-half years of really difficult budgets, I do not see the public appetite continuing. It could be that we have neutral budgets for a period," he said.
But the Green Party gave a rapid assurance that Mr Boyle was speaking on a personal basis -- and not for the party.
And there was a terse response from the Department of Finance, which said that the Government's official target was to bring down the deficit in line with EU rules by 2014.
But last night, Mr Boyle dismissed suggestions that his comments contradicted government policy.
"Any change has to be agreed with the European Commission. We're in a programme that has been agreed with the European Commission and we're committed to that," he said.
"I think we will have a debate, maybe when the general election happens about whether 2014 is the year (or whether) we should measure the pain over a longer time period," he said.